Interviewing Tips For Contractors

How to make sure you will NOT get hired?

• Be late for the interview or even better – never show up;
• Wear two different color shoes to the interview or … flip flops;
• Take an incoming call from your spouse and discuss your family-owned business in front of the interviewers for 10 min;
• Vomit on the interviewer’s desk (and don’t be surprised, it happens in reality).

This happened to real candidates at real interviews. And these are not the worst cases. How do you like this response? “The only time that I get drunk is on the weekends!” And this is from one of the candidate’s describing her positive traits. Promising, hah?

Or the situation when the candidate didn’t make it to the interview and asked to re-schedule it, saying his references couldn't come with him to the interview. Well, you don’t need to bring your references, just bring your reference letters.

We, at Vitaver Staffing, don’t want all this to happen to you so let us give you some advice which will help you win at the job interview.

Let’s imagine there’s a famous pharmaceutical company looking for the Project Manager. And you have all the experience required – you’ve been Project Manager for 10 years now, you have all the necessary certifications and trainings and what’s most important – you have pharmaceutical industry experience from the competitor. Nice and promising picture, isn’t it?

But… there’s only one” but”… there’re 2 more candidates just like you with almost the same experience coming from competitors as well. One day you get in front of the interviewing board as well as the other 2 candidates and you need to win this little battle? How do you do this?

And here’s how:

Interview Tip 1: Plan ahead - Do a little homework! Research the company and the position if possible, as well, the people you will meet with at the interview.

Interview Tip 2: Review your work experiences. Be ready to support past career accomplishments with specific information targeted toward the companies needs. Have your facts ready!

Interview Tip 3: Role Play. Write down answers to the possible questions if it helps to make your presentation more concise. Try to keep your answers to the information your new employer will want to know. Try to relate your answers to the interviewer and the company. Focus on achievements relevant to the position.

Interview Tip 4: Plan your interview outfit in advance and make sure your clothing is pressed, your shoes are shined, and your hair and nails are well groomed. Most jobs are decided even before you open your mouth.

Interview Tip 5: Bring extra copies of your resume and a list of references.

Interview Tip 6: Turn off your cell phone. Do not touch anything at the desk, do not stare at the interviewer papers.

Interview Tip 7: Once you get to the interview, remember, the most important attribute you have to offer when you go on an interview is your PERSONALITY.

The number one reason job seekers get turned down for a position is because of their personality. Yes… their personality. Leading companies are not interested in boring, quiet or uninspiring personality. In most cases, hiring authorities don’t enjoy having to pull information out of a candidate to get questions answered.

In fact, several hiring authorities stated the following: “It’s perfectly fine for a potential employee to be a little on the quiet side, but I can’t stand interviewing the ones who just sit there and answer yes or no to every question I ask. It’s like pulling teeth to get some information. They literally put me to sleep”.

Truth is – people hire who they like. Plain and simple as it is! Be positive; in particular, avoid negative comments about past employers.

Remember that people like to hire people who are going to be on ‘their side’ once they are hired. Everyone ‘belongs’ to a certain circle inside companies, and they help each other get promoted, shine, etc. Make sure your interviewer knows that you will be on the right side…

Don’t forget to smile. I know it sounds very simple however many job seekers become so serious during their interviews, and they almost instantly forget to smile.

Remember about the eye contact. Don’t stare at the desk, you definitely won’t find anything interesting there. Show you want the job with your interest.

Be a good listener, NEVER interrupt your interviewer. Never put him down, argue with him, roll your eyes up as in ‘what a stupid question!’.

Speak calmly, be assertive but relaxed: if you feel intimidated by talking to an audience of one or many (as I feel now), do the trick that actors and actresses have been doing since the time of the Romans: imagine your audience without clothes (as I am doing now). That will help you relax…

Never look at your watch, not even by accident (as being bored… when this interview will end?). Sit straight; do not ‘lounge’ in your chair. Do not cross your legs as to show your shoes soles. Make sure your hand is dry when you shake hands, be firm but do not break his/her fingers.

If you happen to see in a glimpse a photo of a dog, a diploma of some school, him practicing a sport (you have nano-seconds to explore this without appearing inquisitive), and you share that taste for dog, specialty, sport or went to that school, you can mention it: ‘I see that you….., I also…’ Try to find things you have in common, that is how people bond, by what they have in common, but even more, by what they dislike: ‘We beat that other team badly on Sunday’, or ‘I think our school is the best in the Region’, or ‘is the best breed of dog, as for me’

Don’t underestimate this advice. You have only one chance to make a first impression.

Interview Tip 8: Question part of the interview might be difficult but if you get prepared, it’ll be just a piece of cake of you.

Let’s look at the most commonly asked questions to make sure you won’t be taken off guard if asked one of them.

The “Why” Question: When an interviewer asks you why they should hire you, you have to speak confidently and honestly about your abilities. But you should avoid sounding overly boastful. The answers can be: I have a strong work ethic. I have integrity. I have excellent industry contacts. I aggressively pursue my goals.

It’s sometimes hard to praise yourself, but after some practice you’ll get used to it.

What is your weakness? Always make this a positive answer. For example, “My spelling is not always perfect, so I always use a spell checker.”

One more “why”: Why did you leave your last job? Answer with a positive statement. Try not to say: “I was fired”, “terminated”, “quit”, “had no babysitter”, or “couldn’t get along with co-workers or supervisor”. However, you can say “contract ended”, “career change”, “to raise a family”, “relocated”, “and returned to school”.

Why have you been unemployed for such a long time? Tell the truth. Emphasize that you were looking for a good company where you can settle and make a contribution.

The “future” question, which goes something like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” The best tactic here is to talk about your values. Don’t get too detailed about your specific career plan. Instead, discuss things that are important to you professionally and how you plan to achieve them.

The seemingly silly question: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? What if you were a car? Or an animal?

These types of questions can get you off track. First, don’t panic. Pause and take a deep breath. Then remind yourself that there’s no “right” answer to these questions. Your potential job doesn’t depend on whether you choose to be a birch versus an oak.

Interviewers usually ask these questions to see how you react under pressure and how well you handle the unexpected. It’s not so important what type of tree (car, or animal) you choose as that you explain your choice in a way that makes you look favorable.

The salary question: Most people will tell you that whoever answers this question first – loses. But that’s not necessarily true. When an interviewer asks your salary requirement, try first to gently deflect the question by inquiring about the salary for the position. If the interviewer presses you for a number, give a range. To decide on a range, think about the salary you want, your salary at your most recent position and the industry-standard salary for the job.

The bottom line: The salary question is one of the most important, so you should prepare for it in advance and plan what to say.

Interview Tip 9: Encourage the interviewer to share information about the company. Demonstrate your interest.

Here’re some suggested questions to ask the interviewer:

What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?

What advancement opportunities are available for the person who is successful in this position, and within what time frame?

What significant changes do you foresee in the near future?

What are some of the long term objectives you would like to see completed?

Interview Tip 10: Thank your host for the time when leaving, shaking hands (dry) firmly and looking straight in the eyes with a smile. Express your hope to meet again, as you would like to ‘work with you/be part of the team/ work for the growth of this Company / help this Company develop its enormous potential/ take advantage of the unique opportunities that exists now in the marketplace for XXX Company’ etc. etc. etc.

When you leave, push the chair back to the exact position it was before you came.

In your follow-up thank you note THE SAME DAY, EVEN at midnight or later, make reference to some actual points during the interview, things that were actually discussed (just a couple), so they know this is not just a sample letter to send to everyone. Make it personal. If the interviewer mention any personal issue or problem, wish them luck with that, and even go as far as to say ‘I appreciate if you keep me updated on that regardless of the result of the interview’ (this shows you are interested on the person, not just the job).

Most importantly, relax, go with the flow, and before you know it, you'll be in your next job.

Good Luck!

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