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4 Strategies For Getting the Interview

This is the first in a series of articles that will draw deeply on my ten years of Talent Acquisition (recruiting) work for Fortune 500 c...

This is the first in a series of articles that will draw deeply on my ten years of Talent Acquisition (recruiting) work for Fortune 500 companies throughout the entertainment and staffing industries. It is my intention for these articles to support you with real, hands-on information. I intend to draw on my experience in the trenches as a recruiter or my personal success as a job hunter. This first article outlines a couple of assertive techniques that will ask you to generate courage and confidence to take action that will help you successfully distinguish yourself from the hundreds of other applicants currently in the talent pool. However, I caution you to only execute these techniques if you are indeed very qualified for the job! Although my experience is at very large companies I assert that these techniques will work well when approaching smaller companies.


1. Stop sending your resume/profile and start having conversations

In the current employment climate I encourage you to take a more active role in your search and stop sending your resume to every Tom, Dick, Harry, and job posting you see on the internet. You may not realize it, but as soon as you submit your resume to a company you also put your career in their hands. 

Therefore, when you see a posting at a company that interests you, ask yourself if you have a way in other than your resume. Perhaps there is someone in your network that works for the company who you can ask to e-mail or hand your resume to the hiring manager. If you don't know anyone then do the research to find out who to talk to (with sites like linkedin.com this isn't as hard as you might think). Send them a brief (perhaps two paragraph) intro telling them why you are the solution they need and let them know that you will be calling to follow up in a couple of days. 

Recruiters don't want to hear this, but (if and only if you are indeed well qualified for the opportunity) one of your best ways in is through direct contact with a hiring manager. On many occasions I have met with hiring managers to discuss new openings and have been given direct leads to candidates who had made contact with them.

2. Use the telephone

I know this seems archaic in our age of technology. However, rather than leave your career up to cyberspace I encourage you to do some groundwork, figure out who to contact, and muster up the courage to make the phone call (if and only if you are indeed well qualified for the position). When you do get the hiring manager on the phone you should be prepared with a solid twenty second pitch as to why you are the solution to their problem. 

Then make an agreement to submit your resume directly to them along with submitting it online. Let them know that you will call to follow up in a couple of days and how much you appreciate their time. Alternatively, if you have submitted your resume online and you know you are a great candidate for the position call within one week to follow up on the status of the position. Tell them why you are someone they would want to meet and that you would like to interview for the position. Many job postings say not to call. 

However, if you take a strategic approach to this, understand the line between making a phone call and being a stalker, and you are indeed a solid candidate for the job than you are doing the recruiter or hiring manager a favor. In my busy recruiting days it was a service to me when a qualified candidate whose resume I had not yet seen would call to follow up. If time allowed I would open their resume immediately. If they were a great candidate, I would get very excited and start asking questions right away or schedule a better time for an interview.

3. Do your research early

If you are contacted by a company you should be prepared by having conducted some initial research. It should answer the following questions:
a) What does the company do/offer?
b) What is their market position and who are their competitors
c) company structure
d) company financials
e) your understanding of the job based on the description.
Most, if not all of this information is readily available on the internet. You may not be asked questions that illustrate this knowledge if they are simply calling to schedule a meeting. Nonetheless, you will be prepared.

4. Be the solution

It is not a secret that many organizations are currently struggling. Hence, more than anything, even more than your actual skill set, companies are looking to hire you as a solution to their problems. What's the problem? Figuring out how to save or generate more money. One way to clearly differentiate yourself from other candidates is to illustrate that you are the solution to this problem. You want to have clear examples of how you helped address a company's bottom line on your resume and be ready to talk about them as soon as your first conversation. This may seem challenging if you are not directly in sales, finance or accounting. Here are some examples:

Marketing: How can you quantify leads that got generated through marketing campaigns you executed? How can you quantify money you saved or helped generate based on your marketing analysis.
Product Development What kind of revenue was generated by new product launches?

Project Management How can you quantify in a dollar amount time you saved on a project?
Administrative Perhaps you supported a boss who was a key player in the sales department and can illustrate how you provided the expertise to help a system run more efficiently, which saved your boss more time to go out and close additional sales.

These techniques can be daunting for some. However, the courage you need to take assertive action in alignment with your desire to get back work is right within you! It is your vision coupled with action that will help bring your career back into reality!

Do you have a strategy you want to share or a question about "getting the meeting?" Please comment below. You never know, the story you share may just be what the person reading it needs to hear. "tweet" this article or post it to Facebook so others can benefit from this information!
The next segment in Lessons from My Recruiting Desk will show you how to stop interviewing and provide in depth details for crafting your "winning job presentation!".

Other job interview tips:

1. Conduct research on the employer, hiring manager, and job opportunity

Success in a job interview starts with a solid foundation of knowledge on the jobseeker’s part. You should understand the employer, the requirements of the job, and the background of the person (or people) interviewing you. The more research you conduct, the more you’ll understand the employer, and the better you’ll be able to answer interview questions. Scour the organization’s website and other published materials, search engines, research tools, and ask questions about the company in your network of contacts. Learn more about job search job interview researching here.

2. Review common interview questions and prepare your responses

Another key to interview success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. First, ask the hiring manager as to the type of interview to expect. Will it be one-on-one or in a group? Will it be with one person, or will you meet several members of the organization? Your goal is to try to determine what you’ll be asked and to compose detailed yet concise responses that focus on specific examples and accomplishments. A good tool for remembering your responses is to put them into a story form that you can tell in the interview. No need to memorize responses (in fact, it’s best not to), but do develop talking points. There are excellent tools available to help you with interview questions and responses. Also, consider using the STAR Interviewing Technique.

3. Dress for Success

Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than under” and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. Try not to smoke or eat right before the interview” and if possible, brush your teeth or use mouthwash.

4: Overcome “job interview nervous“

Job interview nervous is one of the first reasons why you fail in job interviews.

Related post: 10 tips to overcome job-interview nerves

5. Arrive on Time, Relaxed and Prepared for the Interview

There is no excuse ever for arriving late to an interview. Short of a disaster, strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to complete additional paperwork and allow yourself time to get settled. Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace.
The day before the interview, pack up extra copies of your resume or CV and reference list. If you have a portfolio or samples of your work, bring those along too. Finally, remember to pack several pens and a pad of paper to jot notes. Finally, as you get to the offices, shut off your cell phone. (And if you were chewing gum, get rid of it.)

6. Take evidence of your achievements

Any sales person who’s interviewed will wax lyrical about their career achievements. But not everyone will take evidence of this to the interview. Although you’ll want to be careful not to take any information along that is confidential to your existing or previous employers (as this implies carelessness), you could take along sales league tables, references or payslips if they’re appropriate.


7. Focus more on what you can do for the company, rather than what they can do for you

At the beginning of the job interview process, someone has to assume the role of the seller, and someone has to be the buyer.

You’re the seller at this early stage of the process.

As the interview progresses you will eventually be asked: Do you have any questions for us?
It’s a bad idea to say, no, I can’t think of anything. It’s also a bad idea to have a grocery list of interview questions a mile long.

8. Make Good First Impressions

A cardinal rule of interviewing is to be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet” from the parking attendant to the receptionist to the hiring manager. Employers often are curious how job applicants treat staff members” and your job offer could easily be derailed if you’re rude or arrogant to any of the staff. When it’s time for the interview, keep in mind that first impressions” the impression interviewers get in the first few seconds of meeting you” can make or break an interview. Make a strong first impression by dressing well, arriving early, and when greeting your interviewer, stand, smile, make eye contact, and offer a firm“ but not bone-crushing“ handshake. Remember that having a positive attitude and expressing enthusiasm for the job and employer are vital in the initial stages of the interview; studies show that hiring managers make critical decisions about job applicants in the first 20 minutes of the interview.

9. Prep your greatest stories in advance.

It’s hard to think of amazing stories on the fly. So think ahead and prepare your most impactful stories of on-the-job success. What kind of stories, you might ask?

“Write down eight to 10 stories that sum up your experience. People are so much more natural when they’re in storytelling mode Think about CAR: challenge, action, result. What was the challenge that the business was facing? What was the action you specifically took? What was the result of it?” That’s Katie’s advice.

Try telling these stories to friends and family in a practice session so you’re even more natural. You’ll feel confident and ready to showcase your most awesome successes when you walk in the door.

Related posts: 7 secrets to tells about your career stories

10. Bring examples of your work

Use the power of the printed word to your advantage. As an executive recruiter, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been called by a hiring manager after an interview, and told how impressed they were with one of my candidates who brought examples of their work.

Most job seekers fail to do this in preparing for a job interview. This one job interview tip alone will set you apart from other candidates.

Idea: Some job seekers bring a copy of their most recent written evaluation to the interview. Obviously, you should only do this if your evaluation is outstanding.

The power of the printed word applies here as well. If you share your strengths with your interviewers, it’s duly noted. If one of your bosses said those same things about you…it’s gospel.
Another great example of your work is any chart or graph that illustrates specifically how you saved the company time or money…or how you made the company money.

Always couch your examples with the following line of logic:

• This was the problem or situation
• Here are the things I specifically did to resolve it
• As a result of these actions, this was the measurable result

11. Remember the Importance of Body Language

While the content of your interview responses is paramount, poor body language can be a distraction at best” or a reason not to hire you at worst. Effective forms of body language include smiling, eye contact, solid posture, active listening, and nodding. Detrimental forms of body language include slouching, looking off in the distance, playing with a pen, fidgeting in a chair, brushing back your hair, touching your face, chewing gum, or mumbling. Read more about perfecting your body language in our article, The Unspoken Secrets of Job Interviewing: How Your Nonverbal Presentation and Behaviors Impact the Impression You Make.

12. Ask insightful questions
.
Studies continually show that employers make a judgment about an applicant’s interest in the job by whether or not the interviewee asks questions. Thus, even if the hiring manager was thorough in his or her discussions about the job opening and what is expected, you must ask a few questions. This shows that you have done your research and that you are curious. The smart jobseeker prepares questions to ask days before the interview, adding any additional queries that might arise from the interview. For an idea of questions you could ask at the interview, see our article, Questions You Can Ask at the Job Interview, as well as our article, Make a Lasting Impression at Job Interviews Using Questions.

13. Sell yourself and then close the deal

The most qualified applicant is not always the one who is hired; the winning candidate is often the jobseeker who does the best job responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organization. Some liken the job interview to a sales call. You are the salesperson” and the product you are selling to the employer is your ability to fill the organization’s needs, solve its problems, propel its success.

Finally, as the interview winds down, ask about the next steps in the process and the timetable in which the employer expects to use to make a decision about the position.

14. Thank Interviewer(s) in Person, by Email, or Postal Mail.

Common courtesy and politeness go far in interviewing; thus, the importance of thanking each person who interviews you should come as no surprise. Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you before you leave. Writing thank-you emails and notes shortly after the interview will not get you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who didn’t bother to send thank-you notes.

15. Follow Up Afterwards

Don’t let your interview be the last they hear from you. If you follow up afterwards, you’ll help them remember who you are, and make sure your resume doesn’t fall into the abyss of the forgotten. Send a thank you note after your interview, and a short email later on to check in if you haven’t heard back. Take into account how you’ve been communicating with them so far, though, as different modes of communication may be more beneficial. If you have a follow up interview, be sure to nail that too.

16. If You Don’t Get Hired, Find Out Why

Not every interview will be a winner, sadly, even if you do everything right. If you don’t get hired, the best thing you can do is find out why and apply that knowledge to your next round of interviews. Look back on your interview and think about what you could have done better, whether it’s avoiding the “overqualification” trap or just simply using better grammar. There are any number of reasons someone might not hire you, and all you can do is use this round as practice for your next interview. 

17. Freelancer jobs

If you are not recruited, you do not need to worry because nowadays, there are many online jobs that can bring in income much higher than the income that you worked for the company.

Related posts: 7 ways to make passive income of all time

Ref: EzineArticles.com, JobGuide247.info

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