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The Behavior-Based Interview Process

For most people the job hunting process starts something like this: Review the local newspaper for opportunities, find something interesting, fire off a résumé, sit back and hope to get a telephone call inviting you for an interview. While this method is effective some of the time, your goal should be to get an interview every time and increase your chances of receiving an offer of employment. This may seem like expecting too much, but it is achievable with the right level of research and preparation.

This book provides a four-phase process for developing a consistent approach to job interviews. This approach will maximize your interpersonal connection with the interviewer.

The four phases of the process are:

PHASE 1: Preparation

PHASE 2: Polishing Your Image

PHASE 3: Responding to Questions

PHASE 4: Following Up

Following these steps will help you present yourself and your skills and abilities in the best possible way. This is of prime importance because your interview time is limited. How you use the time allotted to you can make the difference between an offer of employment to you…or to the next interviewee.

As you go through the steps, you will learn:

The importance of pre-interview research.

Behaviors that pay off with a successful interview.

The best responses to questions.

What to do after the interview to encourage your selection for the job.

This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. All it takes is a little time and practice. Most successful interviews are the result of preparation by the job candidate, especially when the interviewee rehearsed what to say and how to say it prior to the interview. It is no coincidence that candidates for the job of U.S. president are put through grueling “what do I say if this question is asked?” scenarios. They must expect the expected as well as the unexpected. Have you ever heard someone say, “I was lucky to get hired”? Perhaps it’s true. But here is my definition of luck: Luck is where opportunity meets preparation. Keep this in mind as you read this book.

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation

Employer Objectives

Have you ever stopped to think about what the employers are trying to achieve in a job interview with you? They are trying to:

gauge your skills and abilities in relation to the essential job criteria and requirements

gauge your skills and abilities in relation to everyone else competing for the same job

determine your level of interest in the position

determine your “fit” with the unique organizational culture

look at your history of success and how it applies to the organization and its current and future plans

look at your history of adversity and how you matured as a result

How you meet each objective determines your likelihood of success in achieving your ultimate goal: employment. And not just any employment, but a job that is satisfying with a desirable company.

Put your best foot forward

When the unemployment rate is low, some job hunters operate under the perception that they have the luxury of picking and choosing among a plethora of available jobs. But the “warm body theory”–that is, placing unqualified or almost qualified applicants in positions just to fill them–is an accident waiting to happen for both parties. Eventually, the new employee may fail and turnover or termination is the result. No one wants to fail at an inappropriate job. And no organization desires charges of discrimination, wrongful discharge lawsuits, costly turnover, or the potential of a negligent hire. The bottom line: Even in a tight job market you need to put “your best foot forward” to win the interview race.

Behavior-Based Interviewing: Selecting the Right Person for the Job is a companion book to this one. In it, employers are trained to conduct job interviews in a way that results in finding the right person for a position, while this book assists applicants by describing a targeted approach for answering interview questions. The key to success is to understand what the interviewer is seeking.

Interview Grid

Every interview is fraught with the potential for mistakes. As an applicant, you must try to minimize this potential as a means of maximizing your candidacy. Here are eight common interview landmines and their respective remedies. Each will be discussed later in this book.

Interview Errors Emphasizes the value of...
Lack of preparation Research
Failure to rehearse Practice
Not talking enough (80% rule) Depth of response
Nonprofessional appearance Image
Question misinterpretation Recognition
Résumé style Formatting
No close to the interview Expressed interest
Lack of post-interview response Follow up

What Are Behavior-Based Questions?

Most employers today ask only job-related questions. The reason is twofold:

They need to determine if you fill the essential qualifications of the position.

The only questions allowed under today’s strict employment laws are those related directly to the position.

There are standard questions that most employers ask in every interview and they are the ones you should rehearse now. You know them. You’ve been asked them before. In preparation, think of some you know are likely to make the interview list and write them down here. Don’t worry about your responses for now, as they may change as you learn this process and the importance of this word: M-A-T-T-E-R. Plan on revisiting this section later.

  1. Where would you like to be in five years?

  2. Why are you leaving your current employer?

Standard questions you anticipate being asked







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