At HR Dynamics we interview hundreds of candidates each year for jobs with our clients. Unfortunately, we see many people with strong qualifications who interview poorly. What are the keys to good interviewing skills and techniques for a job applicant ? Many, many books have been written on this subject and there are a number of skills to learn and practice. But from our standpoint, two skills stand out above all others.
- A thorough knowledge of the hiring company gained from personal research
- Enthusiasm for the position
The two are most definitely connected. If the applicant displays a good basic knowledge of the business, it follows the applicant will be able to express enthusiasm for the job opening. Preparing for a job interview means doing the homework to learn everything possible about the business. A thorough Google search is imperative. Contacting people in the industry such as competitors, customers and suppliers will uncover additional information. No matter what position one is applying for; the more research one does on a company, the better. For example, let's say you are applying for a position as a bookkeeper/office manager with a local travel agency... the knowledgeable applicant should have an “interview conversation” that sounds like this……… “I understand that XYZ Travel recently merged with the ABC Travel agency...Has that been a good combination?” “In reviewing your advertising in the local Sunday paper, it seems that working with the major cruise companies is a key component of your business.” “My Grandmother, who lives in Atlanta regularly uses a travel agent to book cruises and trips to Europe. She says that what matters the most to her when selecting a travel agency is the knowledge and experience of the individual agents. She wants to work with an agent who has been to the destination. Do you find this important to XYZ’s clients?” Just the mere fact the applicant has done their homework and research makes the interviewer feel the applicant wants the job and has enthusiasm for the industry.
Other ways an applicant can show enthusiasm are:
- Body Language – Most books that describe the best interviewing techniques will tell you to maintain good eye contact, smile, sit forward in the chair and show enthusiasm in your voice and your actions.
- Ask about growth potential – With a good knowledge of the industry, the applicant is able to ask meaningful questions about the company's strategy to grow and be more profitable. (“In the travel industry I've noticed more and more of the big resorts are appealing to young families. Do you see XYZ growing by focusing on young families? “)
- Describe, specifically how you can add value …. “In addition to my bookkeeping skills, I think I can help XYZ by conducting a cost analysis of the new marketing strategies and making recommendations based on effectiveness”. The interviewer wants to know how hiring you will benefit the company.
Everyone can improve their interviewing technique. An excellent place to start is to do your homework; research the company, the industry and the position and then show enthusiasm for the position based on this knowledge.
Written by Donna D'Alfonso
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