The process of finding a new job and converting a job interview into a job offer can be difficult to understand and make you feel confused.
It doesn’t have to be like that. There are a few things you can do to make the process much easier.
Richard Hayes from London, asked us:
I am in the process of finding a new job and have been to a job interview two weeks ago, but wasn’t invited to a second one. Now I have a new interview next week at a different company that I feel really excited about and would want it to be successful and possibly convert into a job offer. What can I do to make sure I increase my chances of that happening?
First of all, congratulations on the job interview!
It is positive that you feel excited about it since it is an indicator that it might be a good fit.
Here are my top 6 tips for you:
- Research the company
Look at their website, blog, social assets, mission statement, financial disclosures and press releases.
Speak anyone you know who has worked for the company and gain a good understand of their culture and work style.
Go over the job description carefully. Look for the key problems and pain points that exist in the role.
- Prepare work examples which relate to the job in question
Before you can begin practicing interview answers you need to spend time gathering together all your work examples.
We call these STAR examples. Look for examples which address the needs of the role you are applying for and any directly related experiences you have had that could enhance the new role or prevent future issues.
For example you may have SEO experience in your current role and the company you are applying to has a weak digital presence. Your skills then become more valuable going forward.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the problems in your current role and how you have addressed these issues.
The chances are that the same problems exist for the role you are applying to and you will be doing yourself a huge favour by showing the employer you can deal with them.
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- Practice your job interview answers to key questions
This cannot be stressed enough. Practice, practice practice. Ask a good friend to do some mock interviews with you or better still talk to an expert.
Rehearse your answers in a mirror or on camera. Pay attention not just to your answers but to the confidence in your voice and your overall body language etc.
Look up our list of the tips for handling Competency Behavioural Interview questions. Practice your answers.
- Ask the right questions
Too many people fall down in this area.
To succeed at interview the quality of the questions you ask must be as good as your answers to the questions that you are asked.
You must know what questions to ask and in which order to ask them.
Start with the questions that demonstrate that you know about the organisation and the issues that it is facing.
You need to show that you have done your homework and are just as interested in the business as in the job.
Do not for example leap in and ask about training and development as this may send the wrong signal.
Plan the sequence of your questions carefully based on what you want to achieve and on how the interview is going. Allow yourself room to reorder questions where necessary.
Remember as well that you can always ask a question to allow you to talk about a key achievement (STAR) on the back of the question that you may have missed or that you have not been asked but which is critical to the job.
- Get your Body Language right and build rapport
The books tell us that as much as 55% of the overall impression that we make to people is down to the non-verbal behavior that we show.
For this reason we need to work on this as an integral part of our overall performance during an interview.
Remember the key points to focus on during your interview which will ensure that you come across in a positive way and help you build a strong rapport with your interviewers.
The more you can build rapport the more you will increase your likeability in their eyes. These eight points will help.
- Give people as much eye contact as you think they can take
- Smile in a warm friendly manner.
- Be lively.
- Use nods and head tilts to indicate interest and encourage.
- Use open gestures and as many gestures as you can – but don’t overdo it!
- Stand up straight.
- Use leaning when seated.
- Don’t talk too much or too fast.
- Follow up and negotiate to secure the offer
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This can often be the stage that people forget or don’t take seriously.
A job offer may have been made but if it is not the salary that you are wanting or you feel is what you are worth then you are probably not going to accept it unless the other key considerations are all met.
So this is where you need to negotiate. Here are so some pointers:
- You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
- Never discuss salary until a formal offer has been made. They want you at a comfortable price, you want to be paid what you are worth. They will expect you to negotiate: this is the first time they have seen you in action
- You must know your target range, but get them to name the first figure. Plan what to say when. Rehearse your preferred negotiation tactics.
- Getting an acceptable salary offer is not the end of the process: Never accept or reject at the meeting, just confirm that the offer is reasonable. Go on to discuss the other aspects of the package: there may be more flexibility in some areas than others e.g. guaranteed first year bonus.
- Get the offer in writing, including a job description and contract terms. Check that the offer matches what was said at the meeting.
Over to You