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Interviewing Methods and Tips

Interviewing is the most essential and also the most stressful part of the job search. Below are some tips to help you through the process. Download all the tips here, and for more on interviewing check out Cancer and Careers’ Interview Cheat Sheet and Mock Interview One-Sheet.

Use the 3-Cs method for interviewing:

  1. CLARIFY the information that the interviewer is after. Ask follow up questions as necessary to identify the specific competencies or knowledge sets that the interviewer is after.
  2. COMMUNICATE your value proposition by confirming the data requested or, when applicable by telling how you used the competency to achieve results for a former employer.
  3. CONFIRM that you have answered the question, or provided the information requested. Don’t assume; ask: “Did that answer your question {name of interviewer}?” “Is that what you are looking for in this position?” “Is that the sort of results you are seeking here?”

Prepare eight to ten questions that you can ask during your interview. Your questions can fall into these categories:

  • Situational questions (personal, general questions for all job types) that deal with why the position is open.
  • Job specific questions that deal with how the job functions and relates to others in the company.
  • Performance measurement questions that help you to understand how the position operates and will be evaluated.
  • Support questions that deal with the people and resources that will make your job possible.
  • Career path questions that will provide a sense of where the position might lead.
  • Personal and growth questions related to how the company will support your development over time.

In any interview give thought to the following:

  1. Think before responding to a question to avoid giving a complex answer. Keep things simple. Expect to be asked about anything you say in writing or orally.
  2. Look at questions and responses as being potentially sequential rather than as standalone inquiries.
  3. Realize that responses will be looked at in their total net effect and not only as individual answers.
  4. Determine the focus or subject of each question. Clarify each question as needed to be sure what is being sought by the question. You might ask, for example: “Your question seems to focus on [specific topic vs. general], is that correct?”
    Or, “I am not sure what you mean by [key word or phrase]; would you clarify that for me?”
  5. Try to relax, be a good listener, and remember that good interviewing involves building a relationship that leads to trust that leads to disclosures (theirs) that leads to stories and examples (yours) that build value that leads to a reason for them to hire you as opposed to your competition.

Always summarize - “Before we conclude, let me recap what I believe we have identified as the skills/competencies that you are looking for to be successful in this position.”

Thank you note – Send an e-mail or hand-written thank you note the same day if possible, to everyone you met with. Then do what you promised: stay in touch as the process moves forward.

These tips were provided to CAC by Julie Jansen, Executive and Career Coach and Author.