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Important Reminders About Interviews

Interviewing is a Staged, contrived event. It is like what Winston I Churchill said about democracy: "Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Interviewing (and any amount of the sophisticated testing, screening, etc.) is still the best employee selection process free enterprise has been able to come up with.

But it's important to realize that interviewing is not a total reflection of either you or the company that you are interviewing with. Although the concept purports the idea that the job interview is a mutual evaluation of your record, talents, and a prediction of how you're going to perform in the future, as well as your personal evaluation of the organization, it is rarely any of these.

Each party in the process of interviewing is putting his or her best foot forward—and rightfully so. Candidates are responsible for selling themselves to the employer, trying to convince the employer that they're the best person for the job. The company, or the individuals representing it, is trying to find the best person to do the job and, at the same time, both selling the company and screening out the candidates they do not think will be capable of doing the job or fitting in.

If you think about it hard enough, this fact will dawn on you. But when people don't change jobs very often, they forget this and are "reminded" about it four or five interviews too late. Take notice: Interviewing is a staged, contrived event.

As we learn more (or remind ourselves) about the interview process, let's take a look at some of the key factors about interviewing.

You are selling yourself. It isn't a "two way-street."

You have to sell yourself harder than you think in the interview process. Don't think interviewing is a mutual "give and take." While you are expecting some "giving," your competition is selling themselves hard to get an offer. You need to be selling yourself, just like your competition is. Don't waste time in an interview trying to figure out what the company can do for you. Get the offer, and then you can evaluate everything.

You need to sell your particular "features, advantages, and benefits."

You need to be able to quickly and efficiently "sell" to an employer what you can do for him or her that the other candidates can't. If you don't know the unique aspects of you and your experience and communicate them clearly and concisely, you will lose the opportunity.

The most qualified candidate does not always get the job.

It is usually the most qualified candidate who sells him- or herself the best in the interviewing process who gets the job. The first "threshold" to cross is to be qualified. But that doesn't matter unless you sell yourself well and interview better than everyone else.

Prepare by researching for interviews.

This means doing extensive research into the company that you're interviewing with and the specific opportunity. With access to the Internet, doing this kind of research should be very easy. The more you demonstrate that you know about a company and the person doing the interviewing, the better you look in the interview. Digging deeply into a company's website, reading white papers published by the firm, knowing about the competition, even knowing the background of the hiring authority you might be speaking to, are all easy tasks to do.

Have prepared questions.

You may not need them. In fact, you will rarely have to use all of them. By having prepared questions, ones that you will learn in this book, you will set yourself apart from other candidates.

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