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The Job Interview: Get Ahead of the Rest -- Turn No Into Yes

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This week I am departing slightly from my usual topic of general techniques and alternative awareness on life and instead dealing with what appears to be a recurring theme with most of my clients right now. No matter what the original engagement is, after a few coaching sessions the questioning and discussions turn to the individual not being happy in their current job and wanting to move, or they don't have a job and need one. The secondary issue, though, is that they do not know how to get the job they want and how to "sell" themselves. This, coupled with a lack of confidence about how they will "fare and compare" when moving out of their current comfort zone (if already employed) usually results in no move at all and just added anxiety.

The comments and emails I am receiving through The Huffington Post and other forums all point to similar challenges my own clients talk about, and as I mentioned in last week's article, I know how hard it is if you have applied for 50 positions and got 50 rejections. So I want to provide a few hints and tips in an attempt to turn a no into a yes.

As my bio states, my introduction in personal development was through my late father. He practiced career development and coached many people on how to get the job they want. A few of his techniques are listed here, along with some of my own.

I was reading this article on The Huffington Post about getting the right resume/cv to impress. It is worth a read, and my techniques on getting that job starts from having been accepted for an interview. In other words, your resume/cv has already impressed.

Don't Lie. As Debra says in her article, most people embellish their details slightly, and this is almost accepted. But don't lie, either in your resume/cv or in the interview itself. I know how easy it is when you really need that job to lie about your experience or your qualifications to try and ensure a greater chance of bagging the job. However, the only thing you will do is to create an anxious attitude within yourself. If you lie, you need to remember so many details that are not true. You need to carry off those lies in front of people who may catch you out. Even if they don't, you will be noticeably uncomfortable in answering questions, and your overall demeanor will be that you are unsure. The point is: You need to maximize your confidence, and by lying you will undermine that.

Background Preparation. No, I don't mean that you need to prepare in the background and that preparation is not important. To the contrary -- this is vital. Research the company you are applying to work for thoroughly. Don't just look at company information that may appear on their website. Do a number of searches and see if there are any interviews indexed on Google, Yahoo or other search engines. There are bound to be interviews with senior management stating their current challenges or key strategies for the year. These are nuggets of information to state during your interview to demonstrate not only your knowledge of the company but that you also really care about getting the job and have done your research. Don't gild the lily though. Just as stating your recently-acquired knowledge can work in your favor, if you go on and on about it you could talk yourself out of the job. There is a fine line.

Sell Yourself. This is where you can set yourself apart from the other candidates. As part of the background preparation done in the above step, you also need to research the job role itself. This can only really be done by getting a copy of the job advert. Usually in such adverts, the hiring manager will state what the job is and what it involves, what sort of person they are looking for and their ideal characteristics. You need to match the requirements against your own resume/cv and make sure all those key points are mentioned during your interview. The days before the interview you should create a matrix between the key criteria stated in the job advert and your own qualities that match the requirements. Keep reading this matrix in the time leading up to the interview so you can recite your qualities that match what they are looking for.

Key Personal Point. Following on from "selling yourself" in the point above, think of one other key personal point that is not necessarily a direct requirement of the job but more about complimentary piece of information yourself. Something that is memorable and could be totally unique to yourself. Make sure that you get this point across as it will remind the hiring manager of you.

Grill Them. The interview is not just one way. You are there to really find out if you want to work for that company. You can only really do that by asking questions. Job satisfaction is about the company you will work for and also the manager you will work with. Make sure you prepare a few questions that can give you the knowledge you need to know that you want to work for them.

Final Question. Understanding the remainder of the hiring process is key to understanding how long you may have to wait to get feedback and how many other candidates you are up against. But you also need to know how well you compared to both the job advert and the other candidates already interviewed. Ask a final question along the lines of "have you heard anything today during our meeting that would prevent you from hiring me?" This shows you care about getting the job, that you are assertive but also if there are any doubts in the mind of the interviewer that this gives you an opportunity to re-qualify yourself and provide additional evidence to boost your application.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, this is a departure from my usual content, but I have been asked by a few people to give some help in this specific area. If you are going for a job this week, please think about the steps above and please let me know how you get on.

I would love to hear from you, so please comment or email me at craig (at) craiging.com.