Interview Tips

The job world can be a dangerous place for the ill-prepared – so when a position opens up, it’s game time! While packing your resume with loads of experience certainly gives you an edge, it truly is what you say during the interview that will be the determining factor for most employers. For this reason, employers will size up applicants usually within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. Sometimes it’s the fundamentals, the elementary negotiating tactics or lack thereof that cause the interviewer to essentially ignore everything after the initial meet and greet.

Statistics reveal that many hiring decisions are made within the first 2 minutes of an interview. It behooves the candidate to spend a little time on preparing to have their life’s work summed up in just 120 seconds. Follow the tips below:

The Fundamentals:

There are certain common sense, time tested fundamentals when it comes to negotiating your way into a dream job. From the start, if you are not making eye contact, you will lose almost all credibility. Repeating the interviewers name is another fundamental that will also immediately add a level of personal connection that most of your competitors will fail to achieve. Nowadays, even the simple smile throughout an interview is left out. These few fundamentals are probably the most important, otherwise you are just another applicant. Establish that connection from the start. The good news is that few are doing what should be extremely obvious, and by bringing some eye contact, the interviewer’s name and a smile into your interview, believe it or not, you will have an edge!

The Skills:

While the fundamentals are a must and surprisingly left out by most applicants, mix in some high level negotiation tactics, and imagine the results you will achieve. What makes you different than those before and after you? More than likely the interviewer will have a line out the door and completely forget about you by the second or third applicant that follows.

You are a commodity. You have value and it’s time to present yourself in that light.  Once you master the fundamentals, look to hinting your worth and disclosing all the opportunities that have been available to you without making it obvious. Create a sense of urgency and limit the interviewers options. For example:

Mr. Doe, I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me. I turned down a couple of offers based solely on knowing that I was going to get the opportunity to interview with you here at ABC Company. I’m certainly getting to the point where I need to make a decision soon, but I wasn’t going to do it without learning about the possibilities here.

With that, or a variation thereof, you have instantly created value for yourself. Not only have you shown that others are interested in you (which will inevitably make the interviewer convince themselves that there must be something interesting about you), but you’ve created a sense of urgency and now those butterflies are in the Interviewer’s stomach (rather than yours!) telling him/her that they might not want interview the other 100 applicants because you might just get snatched up. Have some confidence when you walk in there – it will no doubt be a change of pace for the interviewer from the other nail biting applicants that walk in the door.

Seal the Deal:

When you walk out of that interview, don’t leave without something. A “thank you for your time” will more than likely lead to a whole lot of nothing. Your goal with each interview should be to get an action step from it:

Mr. Doe, thanks again for meeting with me, if you wouldn’t mind, could I give you a call this Friday just to get an update on how the interviewing process has been going for you and see if I’m still in the hunt?

More often than not, the answer will be yes and you will have just received an action step that others simply didn’t think about getting. The goal here is to not just be shuffled back into the paperwork when you walk out that door. Before you leave, have the next action step all set up.

Follow Up

While you may have just put on the best show of your interviewing career, a lack of follow up will end all chances of landing the job. If you said you would call, call! When you’re done with that call, send a thank you card telling the Interviewer how much you appreciate their time and expressing an interest in the job. The goal is to distinguish yourself from the others and the point here is, it takes something different to accomplish that.

Quick Guide – Fundamentals to Close:

  • Don’t forget the simple things – Smile, maintain constant eye contact and repeat the interviewer’s name throughout the interview. If you don’t feel comfortable with the next steps, just doing these simple bare minimums will give you an edge few others have.
  • If you’re feeling comfortable and ready for some results, hone in on some negotiation skills and promote your value. Act “as if”; as if you are completely worth it and the opportunity to choose you won’t be around for long.
  • If you’re leaving that interview, leave with something, otherwise what do you really have? Nothing! Lineup that action step, whether it’s a follow up phone call or stopping by in the near future just to check-in!
  • Finally, if you say you are going to do something, do it and sooner rather than later. Remember, you need the job and they need you. Be confident! You are worth it!

Any more tips you would add? Let us know in the comments below!

Jason Cohen assumed the position of Chief Consultant of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh in the winter of 2013. Leading up to his role as the lead Consultant for the group, Jason Cohen has negotiated hundreds of real estate deals. Proof positive that his negotiation skills have allowed him to master the technique . Cohen formed the Jason Cohen Pittsburgh team after 10 years of negotiating his way through the real estate business and acquiring millions in PA Real Estate along the way.


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