Being PREPARED To Interview Effectively

Compass-seaLOK, so you’ve secured and scheduled an interview…NOW what???  Do you understand that you will be an equal participant in this employment conversation? Are you prepared to take advantage of that and perform to the best of your ability in the interview?


Thursday, January 12th we will be discussing Closing the Deal

(Part I: Interview Strategies)

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.

And YOUR Tools…


Prepare for your interviews (and networking meetings) by understanding the value you bring to a potential employer and hiring company.    Incorporate portions of this information into your interview responses, or use some of the material in your interview closing remarks.  Tell them why you are good at what you do!


The key to being successful in an interview is to answer each question well, with strong content and credible delivery. To do this, you must anticipate and practice what to say, display confidence and enthusiasm and show that you have a positive attitude. The way you deliver your responses can be just as important as what you say.

Look directly into the interviewer’s eyes; give short, crisp, smooth answers that don’t sound memorized.  Put energy and ‘texture’  in your voice.

Consider one of the following guidelines in answering questions relative to your communication strategy…

  1. ANSWER the question.
  2. Highlight strengths, giving examples as appropriate… plays to behavioral interviewer style and tactics. Minimize weaknesses.
  3. At least address the issue of the question before
    • Blocking
    • Turnaround
    • Answering in your terms
    • Confronting or changing the subject!

Behavioral interview questions

Many employers are moving away from a resume-driven style of interviewing to a behavioral format. Behavioral interviews are very probing in nature and are based on the concept of “predictable future behavior.”

In other words, what you have done in the past strongly suggests what you will do in the future.  It is about patterns of behavior, both good and bad.

Navigating these interviews successfully requires that you know yourself inside and out.  This will require a lot of introspection and soul-searching on your part.

You must be able to:

  • Know why you have made the decisions you have made that have brought you to this point in your life… and be prepared to explain and defend your decisions.
  • Provide concrete, specific examples of where you have demonstrated the proficiency employers are seeking.

Do you have any questions?

Have at least two questions ready.  They could relate to: the procedures; the systems; reporting relationships; size of working group; equipment; or immediate goals of the department or position.  Do not ask questions about benefits or holidays until you are close to a job offer.


 How do companies Pay?

Thanks to the Fair Labor Practices Act of the early sixties, salary administration is quite predictable. Companies are regulated/ audited to maintain the midpoints of their base salary ranges. Therefore the job market tends to collapse around salary range midpoints, regardless of job market conditions.

What is often very misunderstood is the difference between salary survey information, driven by reported salary ranges-and-salary offers made within the job market, driven by negotiated dollars. It is important to realize this simple fact of economic life. That’s why we must always be prepared to negotiate!

Knowing salary administration strategy from the Corporate view, The Careerpilot is not surprised by the actual marketplace performance of today’s professionals in career transition. Even in the “soft market” conditions of today’s marketplace, Candidates have been seeing 15% increases to be commonplace… even higher with some highly marketable Candidates or from within high demand industries and companies. You can negotiate anything.


While potential employers recruit within well-defined salary ranges, your position’s worth is so much more.  This total value is what you seek to improve upon, and it has several variables…

  1. Base Salary
  2. STRUCTURED BONUS… paid in a regular and frequent paycheck
  3. UNStructured Bonus… these are the elusive, discretionary money sources.
  4. Benefits
  5. Perks
  6. First year vacation
  7. Starting date, if currently employed!

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