March 28, 2011, 5:00 am

My Interview Tricks

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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interview suitThat’s it, I’m on a roll again! After turning down a 250k job based lifestyle quality, I had an interview for an interesting position in the area I am looking for: Downtown. The job is pretty similar to what I do right now (e.g. financial planner) but for a wealthier clientele. This would not represent a huge climb in income as the previous job was but I would be getting my foot in the door in the wealth management department. One of my financial goals for 2011 was to pay off my debts, there is nothing better than a raise to pay them off ;-).

So far in my career, I’ve been quite successful with my interviews. I didn’t get every job I applied for but I have always left a very good impression. Sometimes, leaving a good impression is as good as getting the job. I’m not an expert of any sort, but I have realized that some minor details make a big difference when it comes to the interview. So here are a few of my interview tricks:
Interview Trick #1: My Super Suit

We all have one. There are a few pieces of clothing you own that make you feel good, are comfortable and good looking. It is very important that you wear your favorite suit, shirt and tie. You will enter the interview room confident and proud. You will be at ease and your interviewer will notice that as well. Basically, you need to feel like a million bucks. Smiles and solid handshakes can’t hurt as well ;-).

Interview Trick #2: Writing a letter

Along with my resume, I always write a letter. This is usually a short one pager that explains a few of my abilities and the motivation I have to apply for a new job. Since employers receive tons of resumes on their desk, you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. By writing a letter, you have more chances of getting read. At the time of the interview, I always bring 2 to 3 copies of my resume and my introduction letter. Just to make sure all the interviewers will have a copy in hand. While one interviewer is asking a question, others can take a look at the documents you just provided.

Interview Trick #3: Knowing the Job

My first manager once told me: “if you want a promotion, you must know how to do the job first”. This may sound a bit tough depending on the field you are working in.  This is why I cut it down to “know what the job is about”.  If you stopped at reading the job’s description, you are bound to be in left field. Find people working in that department, ask them interview questions, try to know what their day-to-day looks like. Ask them what they like, what they don’t like about their position. During the time of the interview, you will look like someone who doesn’t take application process lightly and that you go a little bit further in your investigation.

Interview Trick #4: Knowing the interviewer

Here again, this might be hard to know a lot of information before your interview. However, when you schedule your interview, it doesn’t hurt to know who will be present. Just tell them that you are curious as who will run the interview. After you get some names, you can always ask around to know what kind of individuals they are. I don’t advocate to change your personality during the interview (you will be happier and your boss too if both of you know who you are from day #1). However, trying to know your interviewers’ background and interests can only help you create a quick connection during the interview.

I’ll get news from my interview in a few weeks (probably by the end of April). I don’t what it will look like as there were several candidates and I know that they are not clowns. This will be a fierce competition! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Comments

I’ve been pretty good at interviews as well (mind you working for government is an entirely different beast than was interviewing in the private sectors).

Others tips:
– have your “war stories” prepped, practised and ready to deliver. these are the stories where you’ve handled odd and/or difficult sitations
– know the company! An easy way to get screened right out is by being unable to answer the simple question “tell us what you know about our company”
– smile. Appear happy to be there. Interviews aren’t fun per se but you have to appear like you want to be there.
– give all the interviewers equal billing. Look them all in the eye and give them equal time when you are responding. If you ignore 1 or more interviewers they will notice the slight/

by: The Financial Blogger | March 28th, 2011 (8:10 am)

@SPF,

thx for your tips! Preparing your war stories is definitely a good one! There is always a moment where interviewers ask you for stories where you were good.

cheers!

Mike.

Someone gave me an amazing trick that I never would have thought worked, but I tried it and it does. It works so amazingly well that I was almost hired in a position ABOVE the one I interviewed for. That trick is: Call the person making the hiring decision and ask them what will get you the job …

I did that, the guy coached me on some items, I studied like crazy, and I interviewed in front of a panel of three. I am not exactly qualified for this job as it is in a new field and I will have to grow into it, however they were so impressed with my interview that they wanted to hire me for the director position above me. Unfortunately they had to give another interview three weeks after I started, and it became apparent that I didn’t know enough yet and have a large enough network in the organization to be effective, however I am not basically on the list as one of the next directors in the group.

Turn your cell off! i learned this the hard way lol. Definitely never got a call back from that interview!

I recently wrote up my personal favorite tips for interviewing too! Some of mine are-
-Know your company inside and out
-ALWAYS get there early
-And last but not least, don’t just list past duties at past jobs. Focus on your accomplishments like ” I saved company XY 5k by using this alternative method blah blah blah.”

Good luck on the interview!

I’ve always interviewed well, thank heavens. I know some people get really stressed and tense before hand and I can totally understand that. I don’t know why interviews don’t freak me out because I’m normally a pretty quiet, reserved, even shy person. I like your list of tips though, and I had to laugh and agree with @Jon – turn off the cell phone! 🙂

Geez, you must be incredible busy, with the websites and working for an employer too!

Thanks for the great tips, I might start looking for another job too, and these tips will come in handy!

You’ve inspired me to turn down a 300K position working with Donald Trump! Just kidding, but great article and tips.