Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Interview prep to help you ace the interview

Written by: Diane Delgado LeMaire, Senior Managing Director, CFS Houston

I put this together a few years ago. I have learned a lot over the years about interview techniques from mistakes my candidates and clients have made. Yes, I have made some too along the way. Below is a summary of tips I have learned and/or read online. Some of them should be self-explanatory, but sadly they are not.  I call this my "2 Page Interview Prep". There are a lot of things I like to give my candidates to get ready for an interview, but this is the most important one. I hope you learn something new or hold on to it for future reference.

Interview Preparation
The more prepared you are the more confident you will be!
  • Buy a portfolio if you do not have one.
  • Make copies of your resume and reference list.
  • Make sure your suit is dry-cleaned and ready!!!! Yes, you have to wear a suit!
  • Do your research! Go to the company website, Yahoo Finance, Hoovers and MSN Money. Look for goals and objectives, corporate culture and any new press releases. This information will be imperative for the interview.
  • Google the company name and the interviewer’s name.
  • Compare your resume to the job description. Think about accomplishments you can point out. Make sure you can explain all reasons for leaving. Make the responses short and to the point. Never, ever say anything negative about an employer in an interview. Believe it or not, it IS a very small world.
  • Prepare a list of at least 5 questions per interviewer and have them ready in your portfolio. Please put some thought into them!
  • Make sure you have the directions.
  • Role-play with anyone!!! Interviewing is not your profession. You have to practice!!!! Practice the hard to answer questions. You never want to sound scripted or that you are fishing for an answer. If you do not know how to answer specific questions, ask your recruiter for advice!!!!

The Day of the Interview:
Don’t forget to smile and have a positive attitude. First impressions can make or break an interview!
  • Arrive Early (if you do not know the location drive by the night before)
  • Review your notes before you go in.
  • Give yourself a prep talk (you should be a little bit nervous, this is normal).
  • Walk in with confidence and tell the receptionist whom you are there to see.
  • Make sure you are looking for your interviewer. Do not sit and read. Sit with confidence and a smile on your face!!!!
  • Don’t forget a firm handshake. If you have a tendency to have sweaty palms, wash your hands with really cold water before you enter the reception area.
  • If you have a problem with direct eye contact, look at their eyebrows. They will never know the difference.

The Interview:
Don’t worry- if you have done your homework, you are well on your way.
  • Rule number 1…People love to talk about themselves. Don’t forget to ask about the interviewer’s background and why they like working for their employer.
  • It is very important to establish rapport. Look for commonalities.
  • Ask to have a typical day described to you; ask about projects and how you can make an immediate impact. Remember: The employer is probably doing his job and the one you are interviewing for as well. The more you can help, the more likely they are to hire you.
  • Talk about your accomplishment and goals. Be prepared to talk about challenges and how you met them.
  • Always know the answer to strength and weakness question. Don’t forget about your 5-year goal.
  • Make sure you ask the questions you prepared. Don’t forget to include questions to better understand the job and what it would take to be successful.
  • Don’t ask about benefits or money. This is about the job and the company. Your recruiter can get you that information.
  • If the money question comes up tell them it is more about the opportunity and you are sure they would make you a fair and competitive offer. If they press you tell them what you are making. If they keep pushing you give them a range. Never, ever give them a number!!! And do not put a number on their application.
  • Don’t forget to ask a lot of questions and show enthusiasm. Most candidates are cut from the process simply because the manager does not think the candidate is interested.

The Close:
This is your chance to bring it all together.
  • Tell them you are interested.
  • Ask if there are any concerns about your ability to do the job. This is your last chance to sell yourself!!!!
  • Explain that after learning more about the company and the position you are even more excited about this opportunity. Review the experience you can contribute and ask for the job or the next step in the process.

The Follow up:
  • Call your recruiter immediately. It is essential that we speak to you before we speak to the client to understand your interest level.
  • Very few candidates actually write a thank you note. I recommend an email immediately after and a hand written note as well.

Have more questions about interviewing? Please comment below or contact one of our recruiters. Find the closest office to you at http://www.cfstaffing.com/contact_cfs/

Senior Managing Director
CFS Houston

Creative Financial Staffing (CFS) is the nation’s largest, privately-held accounting and financial staffing firm. We provide qualified accounting and finance professionals on a temporary and permanent basis across a broad range of industries.

Visit our website: http://www.cfstaffing.com/

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