By Fred Coon
You have an interview scheduled. Now, you must really do important homework—both written and verbal—to survive the next phase of this process. I mean, why would you have worked so hard to get this far and then blow it because you thought you could wing it?
Machiavelli said that knowledge is power and any person who has it has the potential to control the events surrounding her/his destiny. To have control, you must gain power (knowledge); and in order to use this power to your advantage, you must build communication. Knowledge begins with the gathering of information. Before you are hired, you will engage in several rounds of interview activities, each involving different methodologies. Each methodology requires a different approach and has a different set of rules. Ignore any of these and you will eliminate yourself from competition.
By submitting your resume, you have provided sufficient background information to justify the interview. The interview process is the ultimate gladiatorial event. You either win or lose—there is no second place or chance. The purpose of the interview process is to justify why they should hire or eliminate you when compared with the half-dozen other finalists, any one of which would be qualified to fill the position. The other equally-important purpose is for you to be able to size them up and make a good decision about working there.
Whenever you send correspondence or interact with anyone in the company, they will have begun to form an impression of you. Any material you send to them must be thoroughly checked and rechecked for correctness, both grammatical and factual. Of equal importance is being nice to everyone you encounter. Remember, in small companies, the secretary who you just brushed off may very well be the owner’s wife, daughter, or have equally important influence.
Stop and think about everything you say before you say it and always show a positive attitude. But save any jokes until you report to work. Your first impression follows you always and can open doors or create barriers. When they call you and arrange your meeting date and time, ask two questions: What is the time period for making a hiring decision? How long do you think the interview might last?
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