By Alina Dizik _ Wall Street Journal article
If you’ve kept the same job for many years, it’s important to brush up on the interview process. “Just going in with your resume with little or no practical interviewing practice is a fatal mistake,” says Nick D’Ambrosio, president of First Round Search, a California-based search and career development firm. The candidate “may have a better background but they will lose to someone who is better at interviewing.” Take the time to properly research the company in addition to what you already know, make sure to understand any industry trends, and learn about the competition, he says.
Here, Mr. D’Ambrosio shares ways on how to prepare for an interview after spending years with one employer:z
Courtesy Nick D’Ambrosio
If you haven’t gone on interviews in a long time, what’s the first thing you
should do to prepare?
It is imperative for people to know their strengths and how they can present these strengths to hiring managers. They need to learn how to tell a “why hire me” story until it sounds natural, and not canned. Once you have a solid story, you can use it in every situation with slight variations. This is a huge advantage and something you can always fall back on during the interview. People who have not interviewed in years simply don’t realize they need to have a compelling story to tell.
Why are mock interviews useful?
Assuming these are done correctly they allow you to practice and can provide immediate feedback. This feedback is very difficult to get on real interviews. You can continue to practice but unless you know what you need to work on you will not improve.
What are some common mistakes interviewees who recently haven’t been through the interviewing process tend to make?
When asked the question ‘Tell me about yourself?’ people talk too much about things that are irrelevant. Remember what the company is looking for when answering this question. [Others] act as if they are lucky to have the interview, showing a lack of confidence. [Some] people make too many assumptions throughout the interview process. They need to ask more questions to further define what the ‘ideal’ candidate looks like. Then they can properly sell why they are the right person for the job.
How should an interviewer deal with questions that are no longer applicable to their level of experience?
Politely. I know people in HR sometimes get a bad rap for asking generic questions. In their defense, they usually are just following policy. If your first meeting is with someone in HR, this is the most important person in the process. Being respectful can get you to the next step.
What are some other key things interviewers can do to brush up or keep in mind after not having interviewed for a while?
Take the time to prepare for each interview. This is the one thing you really have control over and I think that people who don’t interview or have not interviewed in a long time do not realize how competitive this market is. Many feel they have such a strong background that they will get any job they go for. This is a false assumption. [Also], interview often and take notes after each interview. Again, if someone has not interviewed in three years they cannot know how much the process has changed or the importance of interviewing well. They also are more likely to underestimate the importance of going on interviews as a way to practice this skill.