TIPS from The Interview Coach

By Carole Martin


There may be times when you encounter a “stress interview.” Be ready for anything and everything in this type of interview. This would include question like, “If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you want to be?” Or, they might ask you to perform some weird kind of task, like leading a cheer. You have to assume either they want to see how you behave under pressure, or they are on some kind of power trip. Whatever the reason, you are there as a professional and can refuse to “perform” if you think the request is inappropriate. Stay cool and calm, if possible.

Most candidates are so nervous about answering the questions correctly that they forget to listen. Listening is one of the most underutilized skills used by candidates in the interview.
• Listen through your eye contact – stay with the person.
• Listen with your nonverbal expressions – nodding and appearing interested.
• Listen until the speaker is finished – do not interrupt.
By focusing on what is being said you can gather valuable information which will help you formulate better, more intelligent, answers and questions of your own.

It is extremely important for you to ask questions during the interview. When you are asked if you have any questions have your list ready. Asking questions gives you an opportunity to show your interest in “them”, as well as giving you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what is asked or said during the interview, and asking for clarification or more information.

From the interviewer’s perspective—

There are basically three questions interviewers should be using to decide who to hire as the ideal candidate. This is particularly true if you are lucky enough to have more than one really qualified candidate to choose from.
1. “Can this candidate do the job?”
2. “Will this candidate “fit” into the department? The company culture?
3. “Can we afford the candidate?”

How you cut through the pile of candidates by using these three questions as your measuring stick will inevitably open up more questions.

• Does the candidate really require all those skills and qualities listed on the job description? How important is it that this candidate be 100% qualified? Could he/she be trained on some of the responsibilities of the job?
• Let’s face it, whether or not you intend to be partial to one candidate over another is often “somewhat” subjective.

It really boils down to being “comfortable” with the candidate. We tend to be most comfortable with people who are open and real. We can usually spot someone who is trying too hard, – or who is not answering the questions asked, but instead is telling you what they think you want to hear. Trying to please a bit too much, or playing the politician can be spotted if you’re watching.

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