From Career Treadmill to Fast Track

The Total Career Success Blog with Ken & Sheryl Dawson

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Interview Like a Pro, and Get a Job Offer Every Time


Have you recently graduated from college or grad school, and are you getting lots of interviews but can’t seem to land a job offer? Is your interview rut dragging down your confidence and enthusiasm? For most new graduates – and most seasoned professionals – the interview is the single most challenging part of the entire job search campaign – except for perhaps negotiations. Unfortunately it is also without a doubt the most critical. So how can you ensure successful interviews that will secure job offers? The answer: develop and implement a winning interview strategy. It will a guarantee a job offer every time.

If you’ve had a series of frustrating interviews, spend a little time thinking back on them, and assess what may be undermining your success. Are you prepared? Confident and positive? Professional? (For a list of common interview faux pas see chapter eight of Job Search: The Total System). When you identify your Achilles’ heel, develop a plan to overcome your weaknesses and integrate it into your interviewing strategy. If you know where you stumble you can easily avoid interview calamities and increase your confidence.

Tips for the New Grad

Many new grads often hear, “You’re too inexperienced” from hiring managers, especially when the unemployment rate is high and many more experienced candidates are competing with new graduates for the same positions. If you find yourself in this situation, keep a few things in mind. As a new grad, realize that you have a lot to learn and gain from some work experience. At the same time do not be overly timid: you have every right to be confident and proud of your accomplishments! In an interview it’s critical that you play up the skills you developed in school, and expertly demonstrate to your interviewer how they match the position and why you are the most qualified applicant, even if you do not have extensive work experience. Also highlight your education and your potential, and discuss how you mastered the ability to learn quickly and effectively when you were a student. Emphasize your ability and eagerness to learn and apply your skills in a job setting. Explain with confidence that you can begin making contributions right away.

Acing the Interview

Think of yourself as a performer when you interview, and remember that a winning performance requires practice and planning. Preparation increases your confidence and concentration, which are also critical for powerful performances. Do your research and rehearse before your interviews, planning every word you will say throughout the interview. This way you will effectively communicate your skills and qualifications to the prospective employer. Review The Total System’s “100 Tough Questions” prior to your interview so you’re prepared for any possible curveballs. Extensive planning will put you in control of the interview. When you direct the course of the interview, you can easily maintain unwavering confidence and ensure that the interviewer perceives you in the most favorable way. Also remember that the interview is where linkage of all job search steps becomes crucial to success, so confidently dovetail your interview responses into the accomplishment statements in your resume, especially when you need backup or find yourself getting into trouble in the interview.  At those stress moments in the interview, your resume will be a life line.

Remember that the interview is your opportunity to sell yourself and show why you are the best candidate for a position. You are a star, so confidently perform and let yourself shine, and soon you’ll be trying to decide which job offer you’re going to accept!

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Categories: Career Development · College Grads · Interview · Job Search · stress management · Total Career Success

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