If your credentials and career aspirations match a position we’re working to fill, here are some suggestions as to how best prepare for your interview with our client.

Companies Hire People They Like, Not Necessarily the Most Qualified Person

It is an undeniable truth: companies hire people they like even if they are not the most qualified. Why does this happen? The two most likely explanations include:

  1. The interviewer learned something about your skills and experience in the interview process that caused he/she to think that you, in fact, are qualified for the position;
  2. Or, more likely, the interviewer was so impressed with you on a personal level that he/she is willing to overlook your lack of industry experience in lieu of the intangibles you bring.

Given the probability of a job offer from the second scenario, the question is obvious: “How do I get the interviewer to like me?”

First Things First: Your Image

Cliché though it may be, first impressions matter. Make sure your attire is appropriate and your demeanor professional and confident.

  • Attire for professional office roles: conservative business suit (black, gray, or blue with white shirt/blouse).
  • Oil and gas field roles: business casual (slacks and button-down for men, slacks and blouse for women).
  • Shoes cleaned and polished.
  • Hair neat and well-groomed.
  • Notebook: Black or brown, with paper and pen for note taking, your prep notes and your questions for the company.
  • Prepare 10-20 questions for the interviewers.
  • Be engaging.
  • Be confident, but have humility.
  • Be polite to EVERYONE.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Look people in the eye.

The Interview

The initial impression you make sets the tone for the entire interview. A firm handshake, smile and a confident, direct look in the eye will start you on the right foot. Once you are seated for the interview, the rapport-building begins. The interviewer will usually start out by asking you to talk about yourself. The common pitfall here is to ramble on about your experiences without attempting to relate them to the opportunity and company with whom you are interviewing. If you are prepared for the interview by reviewing the company brief and literature, you should be well-armed to deliver an effective, focused presentation. Do not be oblivious to the interviewer’s body language. If he/she seems to be interested in a particular area, go into more detail about it.

The “60/40” Rule

The “60/40” rule is a practical interpretation of the old saying: “…it is impossible to put your foot into a closed mouth.” If things are going well in the interview, you will normally do 40% of the talking. After you finish your answer to the interviewer’s question, try to ask them a question. This will accomplish several things:

  1. You will get critical information from the interviewer about the company and an opportunity that you can use in formulating your answers to future questions;
  2. The interviewer cannot help but get the impression that you are interested in the company and the opportunity; and
  3. You decrease your chances of talking yourself out of contention for the position.

Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” once said: “We are interested in people that are interested in us.” Think about people you really enjoy hanging out with, or people you admire. Chances are, you like being around these people because you feel that they are interested in you and in what you have to say. The same holds true in the interview process. It is easy for the interviewer to visualize you performing well on the manufacturing floor or on one of their project teams if they feel you possess the interpersonal skills to get along well with others on the team. Listening skills are critical in Corporate America. The interview is your first opportunity to showcase yours.

The CLOSE

No essay on interviewing would be complete without addressing the dreaded “close.” This is a sales term which refers to the point in the presentation where you “ask for the order.” In this case, you are asking for a follow-up interview [pursuit].

The standard close can be broken down into three [3] parts:

  1. Gratitude: Thank the interviewer for the time to meet with you;
  2. Expression of Interest: Let the interviewer know that you are interested in the opportunity, and reiterate some of the key issues that came up during the interview that would tend to make the interviewer agree that you are a good fit; and
  3. Ask for the Follow-up Interview: This will remove any lingering doubts the interviewer may have about your interest in the opportunity. If the company is located within driving distance of your home, or you will be staying in the local area for a while following a hiring conference, tell them about it. If you do not ask for the follow-up interview, the interviewer may not be sure if you are interested.

Ready to find your next career opportunity? Contact Stark Talent today.