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Ask A Career Coach - Interviewing Is Not An Inquiry

I often hear from job seekers and clients how nervous they are regarding an upcoming interview. When asked why, I often receive the following responses:

  •          Interviewers have their own agendas.
  •          The interviewer’s intent is to put you in the hot seat and grill you.
  •          There is so much at stake when interviewing.
  •          I know I am qualified, but what if they don’t think I am?
  •          I can’t think on my feet and won’t remember my achievements, success stories.

Try to focus on the fact that interviewers are people and they hire people, not robots. Remember your resume and skills landed you the interview so you already meet the required qualifications for the position. The interviewer’s ultimate objective is to determine if the candidate is a right fit for the position, the team, and the company.  The interviewer wants to get to know you so think of the interview as a conversation, not an inquiry.

I interact frequently with human resource managers, hiring managers and recruiters and there is consistency in what they expect to see, hear in an interview.  They want a candidate to:

-Act approachable and friendly to everyone he/she comes in contact with

-Be engaged and actively participate in the conversation

-Look the interviewer directly in the eye

-Show enthusiasm, smile and be yourself

-Listen, listen, and listen some more; respond directly to questions

-Be polite and respectful; don’t interrupt and try to hijack the conversation

-Demonstrate he/she is prepared and has researched the company, interviewers, and job description

-Sell his/her value and articulate what the candidate can do for the company 

-Ask relevant, insightful questions about the company and the role

-Thank the interviewer and inquire about next steps; ask for the position if wanted

Incorporate the above ten steps into your interview practice and preparation and you will create the foundation for a successful interview conversation.

Paula Pope is a Senior Consultant at The Frontier Group

At The Frontier Group our senior consultants have helped hundreds of clients with interview training and preparation as part of our outplacement and career coaching practice. Our Senior Consultants are experienced in working with a client on popular interview questions, behavior based interview questions, which includes targeted questions, challenging questions/responses, and preparation regarding how to handle compensation questions, illegal questions.