John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
Once you actually get an offer, your first reaction is often to look to see how you might improve it. But, what if you could improve your offer simply by improving your interview? You can, you know.
If you’d talk to most of your colleagues, you would find yourselves agreeing about the importance of a strong interview. If you could be a fly on the wall, however, you might be surprised at how little time and effort people really invest in being prepared. In some cases, you might think the individual simply thought he could wing it.
It’s no stretch at all to draw a parallel between an interview and a first date. In each scenario, both parties are putting their best foot forward. At least you would expect they are.
You can be sure that an employer is expecting that of you when you come to interview. He’ll figure you’ve taken a good look at his firm’s website. So, he won’t necessarily be impressed by your questions about something you saw there. Instead of focusing on the boilerplate that every firm uses, though, how about asking about something you read in a recent news release that is posted there? Or, ask your interviewer to tell you more about an article of hers that you saw – on the website, or elsewhere. If you dig just a little bit deeper, you can find interesting tidbits that can be the foundation of questions that will make you stand out from the rest.
You may have a good idea what it is you want to know, you just can’t find the language to ask the question. And for lack of a better approach, you fall back on whatever words pop into your head. What if you took the time to think about what it is you really want to know, and formulate a question about that? For example:
Instead of …
What do you want someone to do in this position?
I feel like I’m ready to start doing more [fill in the blank]. Would I be able to do much of that in this position?
(If you really did want to do more [fill in the blank], and that opportunity wasn’t going to be available to you, wouldn’t it be nice to know that so you could make a smarter decision?)
Or, instead of …
What kind of engagements does your firm do?
If I were to walk in the door tomorrow, what are the engagements you have that you might put me to work on?
(The practice may do a lot of engagements that you think would be really fun and challenging. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know whether you’ll actually be assigned to work on them?)
You almost can’t prepare too much for an interview. You probably won’t get to ask all the questions, or say all the things you’ve made note of. Being as ready as you can be can make a difference in the offer that comes your way, however.
If you’re not getting thorough coaching for interviews, you may be working with the wrong recruiter. Contact us for a copy of our free article on this subject, “Shop Talk”.