Closing the Interview, Page 3

As discussed in the last couple Tips of the Weeks, it is important to close that deal and make a great impression.
After you have asked your lead-in question (see last week’s tip) if the employer hasn’t set up the next step there is still work to be done. The employer may still have genuine concerns or may create concerns to see how you handle the situation. Use FEB selling to overcome the objections (this was in a previous posts). Until you feel you have overcome all of the hesitations that the employer has, only then should you proceed to step 2.
Now you are on the home stretch. The bases loaded and you’re up to bat. The good news is, you are almost done! The bad news is, this is the most important part. It is absolutely crucial you ask the following questions:
For initial interviews: Where do we go from here? Can we set that up right now?
For final interviews: Where do we go from here? When can I start?
Don’t forget, as you have practiced your close, the employer is thinking of ways to strike you out. Some “strike out” statements are:

  • I still have more people to interview.
  • I will be getting back with _______.
  • I will be letting you know in a couple of days.

Beware of those smokescreens. DO NOT be fooled into thinking you will get the next step. If you don’t set up the day, date and time of your next interview, it probably will never happen. As a rule of thumb, attempt to get the next step 3 times. You may have to refer back to overcoming objections/concerns/hesitations to achieve this goal.
*As with everything, there may be an exception to the rule. The interviewer may not have the power to set up the next step because s/he may not have access to the next interviewer’s schedule. Or, you may be the first of several candidates they plan on interviewing. At least find out if the interviewer will be recommending you for the next step. You want to make sure that you are not being blown off.

Selling yourself in an Interview

During the interview it is essential that you SELL YOURSELF.  Feature-Example-Benefit Selling, also known as FEB selling, is a fabulous way to do this!  FEB selling teaches you to effectively sell yourself by using personal examples.

FEATURE:        a fact that sets you apart from other people.
EXAMPLE:       a specific, personal example that supports your fact.
BENEFIT:          how your fact and example benefit the employer.

For example:

Feature: I have a strong work ethic

Example: While attending college full-time, I worked 40 hours a week to finance my education.

Benefit: I’m used to working hard in order to achieve positive results.

By using the examples above, we come up with this statement

“I have a strong work ethic.  For example, while attending college full-time I worked 40 hours a week to finance my education.  What this means for [XYZ Company] is that I’m used to working hard in order to achieve positive results.”

Read the job description and pick out buzz words and incorporate them in your FEB.’s.  Examine your background and consider what your Example would be for each Feature and how you think it will Benefit that company

Take the following opening from an actual job listing:

As the leader of the team, you will ensure maximum reliability and effectiveness of information produced, enabling leadership to make well-informed decisions. The successful [candidate] is a clear communicator, highly analytical, and possesses the necessary skills and experience to develop a world-class finance team. The ideal candidate has a collaborative attitude, makes thoughtful decisions in a timely manner and never hesitates to roll up their sleeves to execute a broad range of financial management responsibilities.  You have an eye for detail, hold yourself to the highest standard and are obsessed with coaching others to success.

The emphasized phrases represents the features this employer desires.  These should be a focus of your interview and your key selling points.

Other Features that employers’ desire are: Resilient, Goal-Oriented, Motivated, Persistent.  Having solid examples of such features and reasons that they are beneficial and you will have a successful interview!

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Be Prepared

Being prepared for an interview is one of the most important tools you can have when going into an interview.  Your Staffing Consultant will brief you on your upcoming interview but it’s up to you to be prepared.

Being prepared can be divided into 3 parts:

  1. Knowing yourself
  2. Knowing the company
  3. Have questions

Knowing yourself includes being able to come up with ready answers to questions.  You do not want to memorize a speech for each question but it is important to have an idea in general about what you want to say.

Knowing the Company involves actually going to the Company’s website and seeing what they do.  What industry are they in?  What service do they provide or what do they make?  Doing this will also help you in Step 3.

Have Questions.  Interviewers want to see that you have interest in the company.  They will recognize that you have done some research.  Focus your questions on what your role will be on a day to day basis.  Who you will be report to and who will be reporting to you?  What other teams will you interact with?

Salary and benefit questions should not be part of your initial interview.  Of course, these are important questions which is why having a Staffing Consultant to guide you is helpful.  S/He will have a notion of compensation and will make sure that the salary range and benefits meets your needs before presenting the opportunity to you.  If you are having difficulty

Remember, you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression with a potential employer.  Make sure you start the interview process on the right foot!

Before You Leave For an Interview

We emphasize being prepared for an interview because it is so important.  Being Prepared = Confidence and that will help you present your best you!

Here are some tips to before you even step out of the door:

Dress for Success Whether you know it or not, even before you open your mouth for the first time, a hiring manager will notice what you are wearing and will form some sort of opinion about you.  Nobody says it’s fair, but that is an undeniable fact.  Don’t let your first impression be a negative one.

Even in the casual work environment of Silicon Valley, many hiring managers like it when candidates dress professionally for their interviews.  And, yes, you will be better dressed than anybody that interviews you, but it shows you care and are eager to impress.  Again, this is another way to differentiate yourself from your competition.

  • DO wear a suit (everyone should have at least one)
  • DON’T over accessorize. one set of small earrings; one ring
  • DO be conservative – No Stilettos or Cowboy Boots
  • DON’T wear too much cologne/perfume

Your personality should come out of your mouth, not your appearance.

Get the directions before you leave.  Yes, I know, your phone has GPS and you can map it when you get in your car.  Well, think of it this way, what happens when you look at the estimated time to get there and it is 10 minutes after your interview should start?  Be familiar with where you are going before you head out the door so as to avoid the next tip…

DO NOT BE LATE.  You should be there 10 – 15 minutes before your interview.  When you map your destination see how long it takes to get there and add 5 minutes per every 15 minutes to your travel time.  You never know about traffic in the Bay Area (except for the fact that you can usually expect it to be bad).  If you use public transportation, look at the schedule and find the train/bus that will get you there on time and pick the one before.  If you show up a half hour early, take a stroll to clear your head.

Tell your Friends and Family about your interview.  The best advice is to LEAVE YOUR CELL PHONE IN THE CAR.  But with many of us being dependent on our cell phones, we find that we have a hard time doing that.  If you fall into that category, give your friends and family a heads up.  You do not want a call to interrupt your interview.  When you walk into the interview, turn it OFF.  If for some reason you fail to heed this advice and your phone does, in fact, ring during your interview, quickly turn the phone off without looking to see who is calling and apologize.  Not once, apologize twice.  And if you’re dumb enough to actually answer the phone during the middle of an interview, you may as well stand up and head for the door.

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