Friday, February 18, 2011

Nailing the first interview question

I have often been asked, "What is the most important question during an interview?" The answer is the FIRST.........Period!
That said, when you are being interviewed you often perceive the first question asked to be the easiest. Many times an interviewer will actually begin the interviewing with words like, "Let me start with an easy question for you...", or something similar. They hope to give you the impression they want to help you relax.

These "easy" questions usually fall into variations based on these 3 subjects:

1. Tell me about yourself?

2. Walk me through your resume.

3. Why are you interested in working for our company? (or working at this job?)

The 3 sound different and appear to focus on different subjects. But in reality, they are the same question! As the interviewer begins what he/she really wants to do is start quickly and determine as soon as possible what they are there to determine: Why should I hire this person?

When the dust settles and interview concludes, that is really the only thing that matters to the interviewer. As an interviewee, you want to get that question answered and clearly embedded in the interviewers' mind at the onset of the interview - meaning in question #1.

So, be prepared to tell a story about yourself, one that includes your interests, career decisions, goals, skills, and an understanding of the company and the specific job being sought - all in 2 minutes or less - in your first answer.

After two minutes, you want the interviewer to be thinking, "OK, he understands my company and the specific job, and he feels he has the right skills for it based on all his experiences, and he wants to work for us.... good!" The rest of the interview simply will be the interviewer digging in to your experiences to verify all that you have alluded to is true. After the first question, you should already have them on your side - and that is a good place to begin!

Remember, if the interviewer has to say to himself multiple times during the course of an interview, "I am still not sure why I should hire this person", then I would not count on an offer letter arriving anytime soon.

David Thompson

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