The fifth step of Hannah Morgan’s six step job search strategy is Interview Strategies. Interviewing is the concept that brings excitement (“yeah, I got one!”) and fear (“Oh crud, I got one!”) to every job seeker. This is not something every job seeker gets to do, and sometimes, by the time they get to do it, they are so tired and worn down from regular job search tasks, and the emotional rollercoaster, that they are desperate for any offer. Sometimes money has dried up and they go in just ready to say yes. Or, to beg and plead.
In this step, Interview Strategies, we are going to be more prepared, and not be so desperate. That’s not to say that we aren’t going to be ready to take a temporary job (or a “step job”) to make ends meet, while we continue to find the next step in our career, but we’ll be ready and professional.
Specific STAR Development: This is similar to what we did in the first Step (Assessment), but now we are hyper-focused on creating these STAR statements (or, as I call them, mini-stories) specifically for This Job + This Company. These are short, but very powerful, and should become central during your job search interviews. By the way, as I’ve talked about having better interviews over the years this is the thing I continue to mention, more than any of the other interview strategies.
Company and Interviewer Research: This is, again, very focused, and you do it before the specific interview. When you get an interview scheduled, you go as deep as you can. This means online research (fairly easy) and more informational interviews/meetings (not as easy but more fun, and more valuable long-term as you make new connections and nurture relationships). Go into the interview ready to ask really smart questions (multiple Insider Information interviews I’ve done talk about the questions an interviewee asks).
Prepare for Sticky Wicket Questions: Some interviewers, in my experience, are not very prepared. Some are really prepared. The interview process can be kind of boring, if you are interviewing a lot of people. How will you answer an illegal question? How will you answer a stupid question? How will you answer a question you don’t know the answer to? These are great questions to think through, and prepare for, before you get into the interview.
Negotiations: Ugh… salary negotiations. If there’s a part of this whole process filled with drama and mind games, it’s probably this. There are books to read, tactics to study… but it just know that this is tricky. There isn’t one solid answer because we are dealing with humans… and humans are unpredictable and fickle. One person might have a rule of “never talking about it until they bring it up,” others say present a range, but others say a range really means the lowest value. Talk to someone who specializes in salary negotiation, and study up so you have some good responses when it comes up.
Be Intentional About your Interview Strategies
The result of this step, Interview Strategies, is that we go into an interview with confidence, we perform well, and we follow-up as a professional and not a needy, desperate leech. You might get one chance to win the interview… the last thing you want is to lose multiple interviews. Address this by being intentional about your interview strategies.