Facing a career transition? Read these tips before your job interview:
- Get details of who you will be interviewing with.
- Research the company – review website, blogs, media coverage, search your LinkedIn contacts to see who might be able to provide info about the company culture, its challenges and other key issues.
- Frame your accomplishments into “CAR” stories – State the Challenge, the Action taken and the Results.
- Develop your list of questions about the role, including responsibilities, how success is measured, resources, key challenges, key skills required for success, and details about the team you’ll be managing, and who other key stakeholders are for success in this role. Ensure you ask questions about the company and its performance, how it differentiates from competitors, and key challenges overall.
2. Practice- do a mock interview. Have someone act as the interviewer and you practice as the candidate. You can also practice in front of a mirror some of your CAR stories and key messages about yourself. Get used to saying things out loud. You want to come across as natural and not too rehearsed, yet you don’t want to bumble around for words.
On a copy of your resume for your use, mark down key words in the margins that will remind you of these key stories and points when you are in the interview.
3. Poise and Presence at the interview – take the attitude that you are a consultant and be inquisitive. By asking questions, you’ll understand what they need and translate that into how you can help them. It’s not about what you’ve done in the past, but what you can do for them. Use the questions you developed in Step #1 to do this. Use your CAR stories to relate an accomplishment from your past that shows how you can help them with a similar situation.
- Be confident, but not cocky
- Show humility – be truthful about failures and what you learned from them
- Pace your speech – don’t talk too quickly
- Make sure you have extra copies of your resume in case any interviewers don’t have it
- Provide a leave-behind career portfolio. This document, if possible, should be more of PowerPoint presentation with a bulleted summary of items such as your key accomplishments, your leadership philosophy and what others you have worked with have said about you. If possible, use charts and graphs, and make these concise, hard hitting statements that are easy to read. If you can do charts and graphs for prior accomplishments, they may come in handy when you are responding to a question in the interview.
Follow these steps and you’ll be setting yourself up for a strong interview!