4 Ways to Conquer the New Job Interview

It used to be (years ago, before the unemployment rate was on par with the sales tax percentage in most states) when you were called in for a job interview you showed up for a single meeting, briefly chatted with one or two people, left after an hour or so, and then waited to hear back within a couple of days as to whether or not you got the job. Plus, in most cases, if you were contacted for an interview in the first place, chances were good you’d get the job because quite often businesses didn’t call people in unless they were pretty sure they were going to hire them. The interview was just a formality to make sure the person was as good in person as he/she appeared in their resume.

But now with so many people looking for work and so few jobs to accommodate them, the interview process has become akin to a weird kind of beauty contest. There are so many different levels of “competition” that you have to pass in order to get the darn job, you half expect them to plant a tiara on your head and shove a bouquet of roses in your arms if you’re lucky enough to go the distance.

But let’s not forget that getting the job is the goal. So to help you understand this new process, here are the four main aspects of the new job interview that you must be able to conquer if you hope to land a job in this economy.

  1. The Screening Call
  2. Quite often companies employ recruiters as the first line of defense in hiring. This means that if the recruiter likes your resume he/she gives you a screening call to do a quick assessment of you over the phone. DO NOT blow off this call thinking it’s some low-level assistant begging for your presence in an interview. On the contrary the screening call determines if you will even get an interview. So be polite, respectful, informative, and above all don’t act cocky, impatient, or arrogant. Answer all questions (no matter how redundant they may seem) even if they already appear on your resume. You can’t assume just because a company comes knocking that they want you. You still have many levels to go to achieve success.

  3. Multiple Interviews
  4. Be prepared to interview with MANY people at the same company, over the course of days or weeks. With so many hiring options companies want to make sure they get the perfect person for the job. In reality there are probably many perfect people for the job, so committees typically do the hiring these days. That means for every person you talk to you have to answer the same questions consistently with the same level of enthusiasm, all while looking fabulous. Keep your energy level high and your visible frustration so low everyone thinks you’re pleased as punch to come back for yet ANOTHER interview. (Consider it Step 1 in perfecting your Big Business Game Face – a skill you’ll use throughout your career.)

  5. Taking Tests
  6. Just because you graduated doesn’t mean companies are convinced you know stuff. Depending on the job you apply for, you may be asked to take one or more tests to show you can handle the work. A common test given today assesses your ability to write well. So much work now entails documenting everything on the Internet that companies want to make sure you have good written communication skills. Just because you can talk a good game doesn’t necessarily mean you can convey the same convincing argument on paper, and if that’s the case employers want to know sooner than later.

  7. Proving They Need You Now
  8. Most importantly you have to prove during your interviews that you are vital to this organization NOW. Not six weeks from now, but at this moment, so that they believe if they don’t make a decision to hire you immediately they may lose you to someone else. Before your interview study up on what the company’s short- and long-term goals are, and show what you can do RIGHT NOW to help them achieve those goals (or solve a specific problem, if that’s the more immediate need). The fact that you applied for a job at this company must mean you have something in common with it. Figure out what that is and promote it to the max.

Interviewing these days is more competitive than ever. There are jobs to be had, but you can’t expect to get one after a simple interview. In fact, the higher the salary, the more hoops they make you jump through. But that’s okay, because if you know exactly how to navigate those hoops the victory of getting that job over everyone else who applied is all that much sweeter.

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