Interviewing

It is not enough to say you have the skills….you have to prove it.

Job interviews have gotten tougher, the people on both sides of the table are more savvy when it comes to tough questions. On one side, job seekers armed with how to books are smarter about selling themselves. On the other side, employers are using a relative new technique, behavior based interviewing.

Behavior based interviewing involves asking questions that determine if a job candidate not only has the skills, but also the personality traits necessary to succeed in a position or company. It is not enough anymore to say you have a particular skill. You have to demonstrate it. People need to prepare for such interviews by identifying their skills and strengths, then thinking about examples from past experiences that illustrate how they have used them.

Here are some tips on how you can put your best foot forward in a job interview without putting your foot in your mouth.

  • Prepare for the interview by typing out a resume with your educational and work background. You should also have a separate reference list sheet that would be given to employers upon their request.

  • Learn something about the company or business, and think about how you can contribute to its success.

  • Be prepared to answer an employer’s question with specific examples of the skills you have. It is not enough to say you are a problem-solver, you have to relate ways you have come up with solutions on the job or in college.

  • Be well groomed with clean hair, body and fingernails. Don't use too much perfume or aftershave. Cover up any tattoos and lose the nose ring or tongue barbell. Dress conservatively. Don't wear too much jewelry or make-up.

  • Find out where the interview will take place ahead of time. Go alone or leave others outside the building to wait for you. Be at least five minutes early.

  • Don't eat anything, chew gum or smoke during the interview. Don't fidget while waiting or during interview. Smile when you meet the interviewer. It does break the ice.

  • Don't sit down until you are asked to do so. Let the interviewer take the initiative. Look directly at the interviewer when talking, but do so in a relaxed, friendly manner. Not as if you are staring.

  • Don't use slang expressions. Never criticize other people or previous employers. If you are unhappy at your current or previous employer then communicate this in a positive manner. Tell the interviewer the challenges you may have working for a certain employer but ALSO what you have gained from working for that company. Don't contradict the interviewer or discuss personal problems.

  • Relate your qualifications and experience readily. Stress your strong points. Show a positive attitude. Answer questions in full rather than "yes" or "no".

  • Leave promptly after your interview. Before you leave, thank the interviewer. Then send a brief thank-you note conveying your interest in the position and what you can bring to it.