From www.lgbtcareerlink.com Interviews: From the Other Side of the Desk
January 14, 2009
Linking Diversity-friendly Employers with Top LGBT Talent
Candidates in this economic climate must ace interviews like never before because when companies cut hiring, interviews become scarce.
On the employer’s side of the desk are four little-known secrets. Knowing how to deal with each of the secrets is a direct path to a good job offer.
Secret One: Employers rarely know how to directly expose your qualifications. To prepare for this:
- Carefully read the job description. Understand it.
- Select three to five areas in the description that most closely match your accomplishments and skills.
- Prepare clear and succinct statements that convey your understanding of the job, the organization and how you are uniquely qualified to handle the job.
- Order your statements to state your strongest match first.
- Practice your answers by recording yourself. Listen back and use these critical filters to refine your answers:
- Am I succinct and clear?
- Do I convey that I’ve prepared for the interview thoughtfully?
- Do my answers clearly illustrate a direct link between what I can do and the job description?
- Do I sound engaging?
- Do I sound sincere?
- Would I want to listen to myself or would I tune out?
- Lastly, use the Internet to research not just the company, but its sector, especially in your own geographic region. Find out what issues the company may face. Weave your knowledge through your answers, be succinct.
Secret Two: Employers decide within the first five minutes of the interview whether they’re interested in listening to you. To ensure you capture their interest quickly:
- Dress one step above the standard dress for your geographic region and industry. Dress so that the interviewer(s) focuses on your face and your answers, not your attire.
- Look directly at your interviewer(s). If a panel interviews you, respond to each question by speaking to the entire panel, not just to the questioner.
- Speak in an animated, enthusiastic and natural tone. No monotones. Be conversational, you’re not presenting a speech.
- Research proves that candidates that turn interviews into conversations are the most likely to get the job. Make appropriate attempts to engage your interviewer(s). Speak only about 50% of the time. If you can reasonably get them to talk about themselves, you’ve scored major points.
Secret Three: Employers have very little time to spend interviewing
- Never make the employer work hard to figure out which candidate to hire. Your goal is to make it very clear why they should hire you. Never assume that the employer will figure this out on their own from a few interview questions or from your resume (which will have been read for less than one minute)
- Research proves that the faster you can draw a direct line between the job requirements and your own skills and experience, the more likely you are to get an offer.
Secret Number Four: “Do you have any questions?” is not what it may seem
- When working your way through the first rounds of interviews and you’re not certain if you’re on the short list, don’t probe for benefits and salary at this question. Instead, summarize your best accomplishments and your strongest skills as they relate directly to the job. Be concise.
- Then, it makes a fantastic final impression to very gracefully take responsibility for ending the interview by thanking them for their time sincerely. They’ll remember you and appreciate you for this.