Every step in the job search process is aimed at obtaining interviews. It is at that point, a potential hiring manager decides if you are right for the job, and, just as important, it is your time to evaluate whether the job is right for you.
Most interviews follow a predictable format, with steps that both the interviewer and applicant follow to decide if both will benefit from working together.
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The best interviews are ones in which both participants are equal and can have a mutually beneficial, interactive conversation regarding the opportunity at hand.
Think of an interview as the natural extension, the successful result of your effective networking. Many networking conversations actually become screening interviews, where influential contacts are assessing your qualifications, skill sets and experience relative to an opportunity at hand. “Perfect practice” of the basics builds the confidence necessary to perform well in formal job interviews.
Let’s break down the basics into four areas…
- pre-contact preparation/ research,
- greeting and rapport,
- questions/answers, and …
- meeting closure.
All four stages are equally important and deserve your consideration and preparation.
The Three Phases of Every Interview
There are three things that must be discussed in every interview: First, the Candidate, a discussion usually conducted in the past tense to assess experience, knowledge, and skills… do they meet the potential employer’s REQUIREMENTS?
Second, the job itself. Beyond meeting requirements, each Candidate must be judged for their potential to meet EXPECTATIONS. As important, will the Candidate “fit in” on the team and Company culture? This discussion occurs in the future tense… very obvious transition in a “good” interview.
Last, but certainly not least, is the quality of FIT. While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome. When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result. This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.