To a large degree, the success of your interview will depend on your ability to discover needs and empathize with the interviewer. You can do this by asking questions that verify your understanding of what the interviewer has just said without editorializing or expressing an opinion. By establishing empathy in this manner, you will be in a better position to freely exchange ideas and demonstrate your suitability for the job.
In addition to empathy, there are four other intangible fundamentals to a successful interview. These intangibles will influence the way your personality is perceived and will affect the degree of rapport or personal chemistry you will share with the employer.
- Enthusiasm — Leave no doubt as to your level of interest in the job. You may think it is unnecessary to do this but employers often choose the more enthusiastic candidate in the case of a two-way tie. Besides, it’s best to keep your options open — wouldn’t you rather be in a position to turn down an offer than have a prospective job evaporate from your grasp by giving a lethargic interview?
- Technical interest — Employers look for people who love what they do and get excited by the prospect of tearing into the practical details of the job.
- Confidence — No one likes a braggart but the candidate who is sure of his or her abilities will almost certainly be more favorably received.
- Intensity — The last thing you want to do is come across as “flat” in your interview. There is nothing inherently wrong with being a laid-back person but sleepwalkers rarely are hired.
By the way, most employers are aware of how stressful it can be to interview for a new position and will do everything they can to put you at ease.
Since interviewing also involves the exchange of tangible information, make sure to:
- Find out with whom you will be interviewing and their function within the company. Do some research on the internet or in industry trade publications to see if the person with whom you are meeting is distinguished in some way. It is also helpful to find out whether you and your interviewer have any commonalities or interconnecting points of interest in the way of origins, schools, professional achievements, or personal interests. These can break the ice when the interview begins.
- Ask the interviewer to describe the hiring procedure for the position, how long it will take them to reach a final decision, and who will be making the hiring decision. This is important to ask because you want to find out if and when the company needs to schedule a second or third level interview. You will give a more confident and thoughtful interview if you have more information about the hiring process.
- Gather data concerning the company, the industry, the position, and the specific opportunity.
- Link your abilities with the company needs in the mind of the employer.
- Present your background in a thorough and accurate manner.
- Build a strong case for why the company should hire you based on the discoveries you make from building rapport and asking the right questions.
- Make sure you are well dressed. Regardless of the company’s dress code, male candidates should wear a conservative suit, white shirt, and conservative tie and female candidates should wear a nice suit or a skirt with a conservative blouse and a jacket. Cologne should be used sparingly.
- As a rule, interviewers extend their hand and introduce themselves first. However, candidates should be aware that the interviewer might not respond in this way. Therefore, you should know that if the interviewer does not extend a hand right away, you should do it. Be sure the handshake is firm but not a death grip. This is expected of women as well as men. Limp handshakes are a turn-off.
- You should not decide where to sit. Wait until the interviewer indicates where you should sit before making a move.
- Body language is extremely important. Most interviewers want candidates to show some enthusiasm about the position. Therefore, you should sit forward in your chair while expressing sincere interest. As you listen to the position described, you should jot down anything you have previously done that complements the position. You should mention these points before the interview is concluded.
Both for your sake and the employer’s never leave an interview without exchanging fundamental information. The more you know about each other the more potential you’ll have for establishing rapport and making an informed decision.