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Maxing the Job Interview

Maxing the Job Interview

You've finally achieved what you wanted. Your hard work has paid off, and you've landed that all-important job interview. Like most job seekers in your position, you're excited yet anxious, confident yet unsure. For most of your military career, you've been assigned to new positions. You haven't had to interview or compete for them, or have you? Have you ever sat before a promotion board or been screened for other special programs and positions? Then you've been interviewed, and, just like you will in a job interview, you sold yourself, your skills and your experience by talking about your achievements and how they would help you perform in the new position.

A job interview is a two-way process for sharing information. It's an in-depth conversation about your skills, experience and training as they relate to the job and an opportunity for you to display your enthusiasm, interest and understanding of the job. A job interview is also a time for you to ask questions. In a job interview, information is exchanged through both words and actions during four basic stages: introduction and warm up, employer questions, applicant questions and closing. Because employers are interested in finding the most qualified individual who best matches the company, you could be interviewed several times.

  • Screening interviews offer the first contact with a company representative and can take place in person or over the telephone. The purpose of a screening interview is to determine if you meet the basic requirements: related experience, education, licenses, etc. A Human Resources representative may conduct the screening interview.
  • If you pass the screening interview, you may be called back for a technical interview. Employees who are very familiar with both the position and the job requirements generally conduct technical interviews. These individuals might be supervisors or workers with long histories in the job or company.
  • Reaching the decision-making interview means you have all the requirements for the job. Why, then, another interview? Only company officials with hiring authority can offer you a position. Before they do, they want to be sure you fit the company culture. The decision-making interview is your final interview.

During these interviews, you may meet with one interviewer or a panel of interviewers. Their style may be casual or abrupt or they may ask set interview questions. Depending on the interview style, you may experience a lot or little stress. The best way to cope with interview stress is to prepare for the interview in advance. You can do this by researching the company, its products and purpose, key individuals and facts, and its culture and language. Anticipate the kinds of questions you might be asked, and prepare answers that use examples of achievements related to the job. Make sure you dress for success at the interview. Research requirements and select clothing and accessories that are appropriate for the position.

While hiring officials make the final determination to offer you the job, they often do so after consulting a number of other employees at the company. Anyone who observes you may be asked. Therefore, each interview begins as soon as you arrive at the interview location. Be aware of how you interact with everyone you meet and what you do while waiting for the interviewer. Always be poised and professional.

It's important to develop and execute an interview strategy. As part of your strategy be prepared, enthusiastic and positive. Adjust to the interviewer's lead by listening for concerns or problems that you can address and issues you can discuss. Show you're in tune with the interviewer by paraphrasing and focusing on key concepts. Answer questions briefly but thoroughly using evidence, anecdotes, examples and data. Don't just say you can do the job; explain how you'll do it. Ask appropriate questions. Remember that one good question is worth two great answers. Finally, smile.

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Job Assistance

Setting a Realistic Objective

Assessing your Abilities

Exploring the Market

Creating Effective Resumes

Applying for a Federal Job

Maxing the Job Interview

Dressing for Success

Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers