As an experienced job candidate, it’s important to comfortably and fluently describe how your experience, accomplishments, and career goals match the expectation and needs of the employer. Here are key steps to help you brush up on your interviewing skills. 

Research and Prepare

As an experienced job candidate, it’s important to comfortably and fluently describe how your experience, accomplishments, and career goals match the expectation and needs of the employer. To successfully do this, research the organization to gain a clear understanding of their services, products, customers, and competition. Also, be prepared to discuss the organization’s mission and values, major projects, and current industry trends.

In addition to researching the company online, make sure to also tap into your network for their insights, or work with a headhunter who can offer additional information about the organization.

Additionally, give careful thought to how your skills and experience could benefit the organization. With this in mind, be prepared to discuss your track record for success, and what relevant experience and skills you would bring to the position.

At the Interview

Focus on understanding the employer’s needs and how you can fill them. To successfully do so, ask questions that will help you gain a clear understanding about the expectations and goals for the position. When asked a question, take a moment to collect your thoughts before you respond. Make sure to keep your answers to interview questions concisely.

While expressing enthusiasm during your interview is highly recommended, avoid answering every question with an upbeat eagerness as you may come across as insincere.

Also, avoid saying anything negative about a prior employer or industry. Instead, focus on the positives and what you have gained from each past experience that will be beneficial to this employer.

Common Types of Interviews

Behavioral Interviews

To assess whether your skills and abilities are a fit for the position, the employer may ask you a series of open-ended questions that aims at learning about your past “behaviors” in specific work situations.

To successfully answer the questions, pinpoint the skill the employer wants to assess and select an example that best proves it. Your examples can be from any experience such as your past jobs  internships, academic experiences, volunteer and extracurricular activities.

Be organized and show your thought process by using the STARS framework to describe the Situation, Task,Actions,Results, and Summary.  Don’t forget to highlight both your individual as well as team-work contributions!

Case Interviews

Consulting, financial services, and marketing organizations are some of the employers who may ask you to analyze a hypothetical business problem so that they may accurately measure your ability to logically and thoughtfully assess a business situation. While case interviews rarely have just one right answer, there is a right way to approach them: preparation and practice.

Case questions tend to fall into three broad categories, which includes: a typical problem encountered by a business, market size, and a brainteaser. To solve the business case question you must first gather the information, organize your analysis, address the problem asked, and close the case with confidence.

Remember — most case questions do not assume you have (or need to rely on) specific industry knowledge or expertise to answer the question posed to you. They can be solved using common sense and your powers of analysis and deduction.

Panel Interviews

You may be interviewed by two or more individuals at the same time. Make sure to make eye contact with each member of the panel when answering questions. Also, it’s helpful to know the name of each person in the room in order to direct specific answers when appropriate.

Do not shy away from “managing” the interview process if it becomes disorganized. During panel interviews, your questioners may ask questions simultaneously or to follow-up on another question.

Organize your answers to address each question asked — and don’t hesitate to ask for a repeat of a question if you do not recall all the details.

Multiple Interviews

It is not unusual to have several interviews over the course of a day with different interviewers involved in the hiring decision. You might meet with the person who will be your direct supervisor, his or her supervisor and/or peers, potential subordinates, and human resources.

It is important to stay enthusiastic and fresh throughout the day. Whenever possible, give different examples to different interviewers. This accomplishes two goals: it gives them more information with which to evaluate you, and it keeps your answers fresh and interesting.

One or more of these interviews may take place over lunch or dinner. This is an opportunity for your potential employer to observe you in a business/social setting. Regardless of how informal the meal might seem, remember, you are still being evaluated on everything you say and do. Follow the lead of your host, and stay clear of controversial topics.

After the Interview

Send a thank you note to everyone who interviewed you. Refer to the Thank You Letters resource for more information. If you do not hear back from the employer within the specified time, send a follow-up email to inquire about your status.

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