Interview Process

An interview is a problem solving scenario. The company has a need or problem and you are there to solve it. Having a plan of attack for the interview will help you focus and get the offer.the interview

The process can be broken down as follow; Discovery: Provide Solution: Relate: Close

Your Goals for the Interview Process are;

Make them want to make you an offer
Evaluate if it is the right opportunity
The order is important, there is nothing to evaluate until the offer is imminent

You accomplish this in the interview first by listening  and then asking questions.

Find out the company’s problem. Position and responsibilities.

Show how you can do the job. Use Past examples

Close: demonstrate and express your interest in the company. Get feed back from each interviewer, show interest, ask if they will recommend you to next level.

Salary discussion, do not give a target at the early stage. Initially it is best to say something like “Make me your best offer.”

Discovery: If they give you an open ended question like “what do you want to do here at X?” before you know exactly what they are looking for, a detailed answer may send you down a road that is not in line with their expectations. For this scenario, it is best to answer generally, “I would like to work on interesting technology with a great team? And then ask a question like “tell me about what you are looking for, what is you ideal candidate for this position?

Provide Solution:  They may give you 6-8 items that are the requirements. Once you have these, you can go down the list and demonstrate how you are a fit for each one.

Handling Negatives: If you do not meet one of the requirements, you don’t bring that up. But they may, and the best way to diffuse a negative is to agree with it and then outweigh with a positive. For example you are right, I have never done X, but here is an example of a project where I had never done Y, I came up to speed quickly and we shipped it on schedule. Etc….

No negatives or confrontational discussion. Agree with negatives and then outweigh them with positives.

Get Quantifiable Feedback and Express Interest:  If two candidates have equivalent skills and background, the advantage will go to the person that expresses interest and exhibits enthusiasm for the company and project. Each person you interview with get feedback.  For example, when you feel things are winding down, say something like “based upon what we have discussed so far, I am interested in Company XXX and the project. Will you recommend me to the next round? Yes is the easy answer and if they are positive they will probably have no qualms telling you yes. No is different and people don’t like to directly say no, so they may say something like, “I need to discuss this with the rest of the team”. In which case, if you feel it is not positive, ask “ is there something about my background that concerns you, do you have any questions regarding my experience?”

An interview is a very short span of time and significant decisions are made in that short time. If you walk out of an interview and do not have quantifiable indication that it was positive, it probably wasn’t. If you can get potential reservations out on the table you have the chance to out weigh them with positives. If you don’t ask the question you will never know. Also asking the question after saying you are interested shows that you are more assertive than the average.

Handling the Salary Issue:  If you give an answer to “what salary would it take to get you to join us” question in the early stage of the interview process, at the end, your offer will be that number, no matter how badly they want to hire you. The problem with giving that number at the beginning or during the interview process is, that if it is too high, you may scare them off before they find out that you are well worth that amount, or if it is too low, you are leaving money on the table.

The best answer is no answer, “ it is too early to discuss salary, I hope you will make the best possible offer.” If they persist, you can say “ I currently make $ xxx and I hope you can put together an attractive offer. “ this is just negotiation 101, once you know they are interested, you are in a better position to maximize the offer.

So remember, discover the problem, demonstrate you can solve it,  get feedback and close the interviewer on the next step.

see also

5 Questions to Ask a Prospective Manager

Decision Time: Offer Stage

Offer Negotiation


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