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The First Interview Question - How to guide the Interview

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The First Interview Question - How to guide the Interview



OK, what is the first question on almost every interview? This is after you've done the courtesy handshake(s), made the initial 'beautiful office or great view or other ice-breaker statement' and after they've asked you if you'd like a cup of coffee.

So, you're sitting there. The Manager or Interviewer shuffles some papers on his/her desk, reviews your resume, starts talking about the company but eventually while you're sitting there sweating it out and paying attention comes that inevitable first question.

{Long Pause}.

This is a trick question because no matter what it is, you need to answer it basically the same way. Generally, the question is generally something like the following:
1. "Tell Me About Yourself"
2. "So why are you interested in our company?"
3. "So why are you really here?"

but... here is where you play politician. No matter how they ask it they are breaking the ice so you need to have one answer even if it's not what they asked. Like a good politician (tongue-in-cheek).

Before I give you that answer though you need to do a very important thing before the interview: write down the 5 most important things you've done you want the interviewer to know about you before you leave the interview. Write it down, memorize it an discuss 3 of the most important up front. The other 2 you'll interject later in a story, summarizing an example, etc...

Okay, now the answer.

In less than 90 seconds, don't give your life story. The question has to do with your professional background. You need to start off with "As you can see in my resume I've done XXX in my life. I have excelled at XXX because of XXX. Here are 3 examples of how I've accomplished this...":
Now go into your top 3 things you've done... rattle them off.

So what is the interviewer bound to do at this point? Well obviously, ask you more about what you just told them.

You have now started the interview and are leading the interview and path where you want it to go.

There are many things to do correctly here but remember this: before the interview, just like a sales call, set a direction in your mind what you want to see happen and how you want it to end.

One last thing... make sure there is a next step at the end of the interview. An Action step that moves the interview to the next stage.

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