Friday, January 4, 2013

Six Proven Interview Strategies That Will Get You Hired


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In an optimistic economy, an average technology professional generates about one to ten interviews for every hundred applications. While a candidate's background, industry, and geographic location influence this number, on average the response rate for technology resumes tends to be less than ten percent.
As of July 2010, unemployment rates touched nearly 9.5% and the number of unemployed individuals now peaks at 14.6 million. What's worse? The average workweek is approximately 34.1 hours, leaving many candidates the option to pursue a second job. With so many qualified professionals looking for work, the competition is undeniably intense and response rates could fall even further down the curve. In such an environment, every interview is a priceless opportunity that cannot be compromised.
Consider the following tips to ace your interview:
Focus on accomplishments
Behavioral interview strategies leverage past performance to predict a candidate's future potential and the selection process is as challenging for employers, as it is for potential hires. Acing behavioral interviews is not as hard as it appears. Showcasing past accomplishments is a powerful antidote to challenging behavioral interview questions and the strategy can catapult even an ordinary candidate to the "most promising" shortlist.
During interview coaching sessions, I often find that technology professionals deliver modest responses to important questions. Modesty is an admirable quality but a competitive process such as an interview is certainly not the place to exercise this value.
When asked about leadership skills, for example, a chief information officer (CIO) may deliver the following response:
Weak Strategy: "I am an excellent leader with over ten years' experience."
Better: "As CIO for XYZ, Inc., a Fortune 100 company, I had the ability to demonstrate a solid synergy of technical and leadership skills. Under my leadership, the IT organization at XYZ evolved from an isolated technology department to a cutting-edge, solutions-driven business partner supporting the company's business needs in 90 countries. I developed state-of-the-art IT strategies that eventually became a model for the rest of the industry to emulate and enabled XYZ to win twelve Best Practice awards. I also managed, developed, and groomed over 600 IT professionals worldwide."

Differentiate yourself from the competition
Until recently, branding was considered a marketing concept that was the exclusive domain of products and services. In recent years, though, the principles of branding have proliferated to the individual level and professionals and executives are now being considered brands in their own right. Most technology professionals would go the extra mile to showcase their technical proficiencies, but if everyone is technically proficient, who should be hired? The following illustrations describe how two technical support professionals would approach a similar question: "Tell me about your troubleshooting skills."
Weak strategy: "I offer very strong troubleshooting skills and am able to quickly and effectively resolve complex technical problems."
Better: "My seniors have often recommended me as an ace troubleshooter who went the extra mile to maximize customer satisfaction. In addition to resolving over 90% of tickets within the first call, I was often complimented about my people skills. Within a short duration of four months at ABC Corp., many callers started asking for me by name."

Highlight benefits for the employer
Allowing the employer to draw conclusions about your candidacy can prove to be a self-defeating exercise. Do the work for them. Instead of just addressing questions, respond in a manner that helps the employer understand how you will benefit the organization.
Weak Example: "I am an experienced network administration."
Better: "My ten years' networking experience with nationally-reputed franchise operations have honed and developed my networking skills to such an extent that I can single-handedly manage and administer large networks with hundreds of users. As a result of my efficiency and productivity, my past employer was able to reduce overtime manpower needs and save at least $40,000 every year. My networking skills have benefited my past employers, and I am confident I can save costs for your company as well."

Research, research, research
Preparation is absolutely the key when it comes to interview success. Dig into as many resources as you possibly can to learn everything about your employer and her needs. This knowledge can be very empowering as you can raise valid issues that may be very specific to the company you are interviewing with.

Position yourself as the "best solution" for the position
Demonstrate how you are the perfect solution for the employer's needs. Develop a compelling value proposition that showcases you as the best person for the company's needs. Kim leveraged this strategy to her advantage.
Kim was interviewing for an E-commerce position. During her research she had uncovered some pressing technology needs that her new employer needed to address immediately. She formulated a possible response and outlined some strategies she could use to resolve the crisis. She was able to create a very promising solution that would benefit the company tremendously. Needless to say, she was offered a position at the first interview.

Develop written scripts for key interview questions
Prepare responses and scripts for common interview questions. It may not be such a good idea to memorize the answers, but a little preparation can certainly go a long way.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

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