Interviewing for a Job

It’s part art and part science.  But you can definitely improve your interviewing skills if you want to.  I’ve interviewed hundreds of job candidates throughout my career and used that experience to assemble a series of blog posts.

Here’s the make up of this blog post series:

See my related blog post series on Job Hunting and Resume Writing.

Resume Writing

There are plenty of books and websites with advice on this subject.  I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes during my career and due to the amount of my career that has been spent in marketing, I take a special interest in the art form of resume writing.  So I wrote a series of blog posts on the topic.  I can’t guarantee it will get you a job but I can practically guarantee that you’ll find some ideas to improve your resume.

Here’s the make up of this blog post series:

See my related blog post series on Job Hunting and Interviewing.

Job Hunting

Often times you come across new job opportunities while you’re gainfully employed and without even looking for them.  But what if you find yourself in a situation where you need to proactively look for a new job?  How do you go about it and what are some of the tricks of the trade?  I published a blog series on this topic and hope it’s helpful to your endeavor.

Here’s the make up of this blog post series:

See my related blog post series on Resume Writing and Interviewing.

Interviewing Tip #7 – Follow Up

Our society seems to have drifted away from formal Thank You’s.  But this isn’t the time to ignore the tradition.  You should ask each interviewer for a business card, mainly for the purpose of sending a thank you note.  I personally find it hugely respectful and professional when I receive a written Thank You card but I believe it’s OK to send an email thank you.  In the email, you want to 1) thank them for taking valuable time from their schedule to meet with you  2) reiterate your interest in their company and the role they are hiring  3) remind them of something you discussed about yourself that uniquely qualifies you for the job/company.  In closing your email you can show your willingness to have a follow-up phone discussion or in-person visit, if needed.

See the rest of my series on Interviewing Tips here.   I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Job Hunting.

Interviewing Tip #6 – Asking for Feedback

It’s not out of the question to ask how you did at the end of the interview.  But the way you ask is important.  You don’t want to say, “So, do you think I’ll get the job”.  Instead, you could ask, “Do you mind if I ask if you have any initial observations or comments about the interview we just had?”.  Another slightly more aggressive approach would be to ask, “Is there anything about the interview we just had that would cause you concern about my ability to perform this job well?”.

See the rest of my series on Interviewing Tips here.   I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Job Hunting.

Interviewing Tip #5 – Asking Questions

In my previous post I described who should be talking during the interview.  Remember that during the face-to-face interview you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.  So absolutely have a list of questions that you would like to get answered.  Your list of questions can be as long as it needs to be.  If you are interviewing with multiple company representatives, then split the list based on the most appropriate person to direct the question to.  And some of your questions possibly should be directed at multiple interviewers to compare their responses later.  Also, be very mindful of the fact that your questions also tell a lot about you.  So don’t blow them.  Don’t ask a shallow question whose answer is front and center on the website homepage.  This will just show that you didn’t dig very deep with your research.  Instead, ask a question that digs deeper into the strategy of the company or industry.  Or ask a question that demonstrates you’re looking to develop your career, not just find a job.  Here are some ideas:

  • Ask the hiring manager how they would describe their management style.  One way to ask the question is “How would your employees describe your management style?”  You can also go a step further by asking what their employees like best about working for them.
  • Ask how your interviewer would describe the culture of the company
  • Ask a question about the impact of a competitor’s recent announcement
  • If the company is private (not publicly traded), try to find out if revenue has been growing and if the company has yet reached profitability
  • When I’m interviewing candidates, I like to get questions about career paths or opportunities for more responsibility in the future because it shows ambition and shows the candidate is looking for a career-building opportunity rather than just a paycheck
  • Ask how success will be measured for the role
  • Ask what the biggest challenges your hiring manager’s team (or the department he/she is a part of) is currently facing and how the role your interviewing for can help the most towards those challenges
  • Ask what your hiring manager likes the most about the company and how much longer they can see themselves working for the company
  • Ask if the company has any basic beliefs or principals that it operates by and uses to make difficult decision.  As a follow up, you could ask for any recent examples that come to mind.
  • Ask if the interviewer has any concerns about you as a candidate for the position and mention that if they do you’d like a moment to address it.  As long as you’re diplomatic in the way you ask this question, you’ll be fine.

Finally, don’t ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.  Instead, ask what are called open-ended questions.  These questions might start off with “Can you describe ….”, “How does the company go about …”, or “What methods does the company use …”.

See the rest of my series on Interviewing Tips here.   I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Job Hunting.

Interviewing Tip #4 – Puff Ball Questions

There is absolutely no excuse for not being ready for the most commonly asked interview questions.  Knock these out of the ballpark by being prepared ahead of time.  I’ve included a list of questions commonly asked during interviews Here.  Don’t necessarily memorize your response word-for-word, but definitely know which points you want to make and practice this using role play with a friend or family member.

There’s one common question I’d like to cover directly in this article because it seems to be stressful for most people.  “How much are you looking to make?” or “What is your salary requirement?”.  Many people try to wiggle out of answering the question with responses like these:

  • I’m just looking to make whatever the market rate is for this type of position
  • I’m open to considering offers in a range of salary
  • Salary isn’t the most important thing to me.  I’m evaluating opportunities based on a broad range of factors.
  • At my last job I made $xxK

There’s nothing terrible about the above responses, but what about something like this: “Salary is only a part of my overall selection criteria but I’m being considered for roles that pay in the $xxx – yyy range”.  There are some advantages to this approach:

  1. You highlight the fact that it’s not just about the salary
  2. You hint that you’ve either gotten other offers or are expecting some
  3. You communicate a range, which increases the chances the company’s budget for the role will be within the range

I know you’re thinking that they will just take the low number of the range and think that’s what they can offer you but because you say you “being considered for roles”, it hints at possible competition and has the possibility of getting an offer in the middle or upper part of the range if they determine you’re the best fit for the role.

I hope this information is helpful to your job search.  See the rest of my series on Interviewing Tips here.   I also have a related series for Resume Writing and one for Job Hunting.