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How to Give a Good Job Interview

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If you've gotten a job interview, you have reason to feel upbeat. Your credentials have aroused sufficient interest for a hiring manager to consider hiring you, but don't rest easy just yet. Everything you say must reinforce the case you've already made in your cover letter and resume. Your responses must satisfy an employer that hiring you will add value to the company, which is what he cares about most.

Ask Savvy Questions

Grab your interviewer's attention with questions that show you're ready to hit the ground running. For example, you might ask, "What does the company expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?" Other natural talking points include how the company defines success and measures top performers. Raise these issues as key discussion topics during your interview. Save the final round for basic housekeeping questions you might have about the interview process.

Be Prepared Effectively

Don't just content yourself with viewing an official homepage. Smart candidates know the value of studying company blog posts, earnings calls, quarterly reports and similar material. For example, if you're asked to discuss a potential employer's five-year future, say, "Based on how Divisions A, B and C performed last quarter, I see outcomes X, Y and Z occurring. Here's why." Investing effort in research is crucial in getting an interviewer to see you in the job.

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Develop Three Anecdotes

Frame your work history in terms of the PAR format, which stands for problems, actions, and results, says Forbes magazine's October 2014 article, "12 Surprising Job Interview Tips." Think of a problem you confronted, the actions you took to correct it, and the result that followed. Then choose three examples that fit the format. Use them to field questions such as, "Tell me about a time you struggled with..." That's your cue to say something like, "When our department ran X percent over budget, I convinced my boss to adopt measures Y and Z to turn things around."

Prepare Killer Soundbites

Summarize your brightest career moments in soundbites of 60 seconds or less, but make them simple and easy to remember. For example, you might say, "My efficiency plan increased product-delivery times by X percent without costing the company one cent," suggests CBS Moneywatch's March 2011 article, "Job Interview? Nine Tips to Get You to Round Two." Taking this approach underscores the link between skills and results that an interviewer expects top candidates to detail.

Seal the Deal

Reiterate that you want the job.** Once the hiring manager answers your final questions, ask how you did. If he responds favorably, it's appropriate to make one last appeal for your candidacy. Say something like, "Based on what we've discussed, I'd really like to work for you." Avoid overly blatant pitches like, "I hope you hire me right now!" Otherwise, you'll risk turning off the interviewer.

About the Author

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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