Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared!

Although there are a number of tips and tricks available online on how to prepare for interviews, in my experience as a Business Development Manager at Outreach Process Partners, LLC (OPP), I have also collected some tips and personal opinions that I would like to share. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of different people and it is unbelievable how much you can learn about someone’s personality and confidence (or lack thereof) during a simple 20-minute interview. If you have an interview on the horizon, here are a few tips to help you prepare.

Read, Read, Read

When I am recruiting and searching for new talent, I always provide information to the interviewee about OPP that includes: what we do, where we are located, and the URL to our website: http://www.opp-llc.org/.

Each time I conduct an interview the first question I ask is; “Do you have any questions about OPP?” If the answer is no, I automatically think the interviewee did not take time to review our website. Asking questions not only shows interest, but also demonstrates that you want a deeper understanding and/or clarification about your potential new employer. If you don’t have any questions that doesn’t mean you won’t get hired, but it means you will have to prove yourself and show you are knowledgeable about the company in some other way.

So, do me and all recruiters a favor and as John Rossheim(Monster Senior Contributing Writer) says in his blog entry: Do Your Homework Before the Big Interview, please check out the company’s website to get a general sense of what they do, how they do it, where they do it, and with who they do it with.

Not only is it good to ask questions about the company, but also the roles and responsibilities of the job. Asking questions will let the interviewer know you are interested in the position and want more clarification on certain aspects of the job. As Jessie Kwak (Govloop Freelance Writer) put it in her 4 Types of Interview Questions You Should be Asking Potential Employer blog entry, this is your chance to stand out from other candidates. Remember, there is never a wrong question, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Social Media Tips

According to *experts, roughly 42% of employers check the social media of a candidate before even calling them in for an interview, I personally like to use LinkedIn. I have also been surprised by candidates who not only did some research on OPP, but also on me. It is acceptable to demonstrate knowledge and confidence by asking your interviewer a couple of questions about his/her career, but please do not send them a Facebook friend request before meeting them. Most people prefer to keep their personal life and business relationships separate and it is important to respect that. Check these Six Guidelines for Job-Search-Friendly Social Media for more tips. If you are on Facebook and want to connect with the company, then it is suggested to “like” the company’s page.

Find the Right Place and Time

When conducting a phone screening, it is appreciated if you plan ahead and find a quiet place to talk so you can focus and I can make a good first impression. Listening to loud music, children crying, or a bus honking in the background is very distracting for both the interviewee and the interviewer. If you are not in the right place, and it is not the right time, be honest with your interviewer and ask if it is possible to reschedule your interview. To find more useful tips on finding the right place and time read Alison Doyle’s (Job Searching Expert) blog Phone Interview Tips.

Be Precise

As a former journalist, I love to ask questions and I am thrilled when candidates are prepared to not only answer a question but also demonstrate how their experience and skills are relevant to what we do at OPP. Be ready to describe what you have done and where you have demonstrated your skill set in the past so you can show the interviewer you know what you are talking about.

To achieve this, Tanjia M. Coleman (Human Capital and Executive Hiring Expert) suggests to create an S.T.A.R. document. This is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Results, and it is the key to answering behavioral-based interview questions. To learn more about the S.T.A.R. document read Coleman’s blog entry Acing the Phone Interview: Preparation Is Key.

Additionally, if you are not sure what the question being asked of you is, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to provide an example or more information. I can assure you, it is better to admit you have no idea what the interviewer is talking about than lying.

Preparing for a phone interview can be harder than preparing for an in-person interview because you only have your experience, confidence, and your voice to impress the interviewer so be prepared, do your homework, and don’t be scared! Happy interviewing.
For more useful tips and information on:

What to know before an interview visit Monster.com.

What to ask your potential employer visit govloop.com.

Finding the right place and time visit about.com.

*How to use social media while job searching visit jobs2careers.com.

For additional preparation tips visit theladders.com.

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