16 Things To Do For Successful Interviewing

  1. Research the company, the leadership, the industry, the competition, your competition. This is a never ending task, not a one time event. Put at least one additional set of eyes on this. It’sthat important.
  2. Create an agenda. It’s really a game plan.
  3. Prepare your questions.
  4. Let the interviewer do most of the talking. This involves skillful means.
  5. Be subtle and skillful in how you handle questions and answers.
  6. Uncover/discover who will make the hiring decision and when.
  7. Allow yourself no assumptions.
  8. Do not close.
  9. Do not make a presentation.
  10. Demonstrate your qualifications and abilities without making declarative statements.
  11. Stay focused and disciplined throughout.
  12. Take notes.
  13. Prove to those interviewing you that you’re listening; it’s a compliment.
  14. Make sure you have the basics right and appropriate to the situation: dress, grooming, demeanor etc.
  15. Be yourself. Relax. Enjoy. Smile.
  16. Trust yourself, your ability, your powers of discernment, your judgement.


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Comment by New Negotiator on October 19, 2011 at 4:18am

Valentino: Sorry, I realized after my previous response that I did not answer your question about my name. It's Michael Settle. I disagree this is a "tease and sell" type approach. I look at it like this: everyone who gets an interview is considered "qualified" by the hiring company, at least initially. Some are more qualified than others. One of the  purposes of the interview process, among a lot of things, is to find out who's the bet fit. Humans believe that is best done face to face. So the question becomes how do I, as one candidate among many, separate myself from the crowd? My system is designed to achieve that separation. While "closing" makes a positive impression on the majority of hiring managers, doing what everyone else is doing does not make a lasting impression. You simply become one of many. As to some of my points clashing with others-so what? The process of making a decision is not a linear event. There is no value in consistency just for the sake of consistency. I'm not after brownie points here, I'm after a candidate who can establish himself ( or herself) as a viable entity in a crowded, competitive, and difficult set of circumstances that will impact his/her future. 

Denise: Thank you for your kind words. The interviewee wants to work for a company for his own reasons. Those reasons are first, none of my business, and, second, discovered by the candidate in point number one:research.  A negotiation, and job interviews certainly qualify as negotiations, is any event where two or more parties attempt to reach an agreement, and each party retains the right to say "no"-all the way through. What is riskier for the candidate asking tough questions or accepting a position that he doesn't understand? 

Sandra: I'll answer your question the same way I coach candidates when they get a compensation question: "a lot." Then nurture. Then reverse the question.I coach candidates all the way to the end. The candidate determines where the end is, not me. I do my coaching one on one; this is not a one size fits all type of thing. I can't guarantee success because I can't guarantee the candidate's behavior. The cost depends on the candidate, the position he's after, the amount of time and effort required to be effective, and a bunch of other factors. This system works at all levels. The higher the position, the more it costs. 

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 19, 2011 at 10:15am

@Michael--"...so what?" So you're not concerned with how you present yourself when it confuses the reader? While you think you come off as all business and no-nonsense you're actually sounding flip, vague and evasive.  You answer direct questions (mine, Sandra's) by not answering them.  This must be your "subtle" mode to win customers and influence decisions.  You declare your candidates succeed.  At what?  Running around in circles?  

I guess when a candidate does close an interview by asking for the job and gets it--in your parlance; the employer shouldn't have hired that candidate?  New negotiating, indeed.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 19, 2011 at 1:44pm

Hi Michael, maybe you can answer this question - what do you hope to gain by posting an article like this and engaging in the comments with us?  When I read these I look for connections I can possibly work with in the future, professionals I can refer others to, and information I can pass along to others in recruiting that can be helpful or at the very least entertaining... what is your goal?

Comment by Sandra McCartt on October 19, 2011 at 2:26pm

So you are the guy who is telling candidates not to be candid about their asking salary. :)  Now i know who is doing this marketing crap speak that is causing candidates to get bounced by both recruiters and companies.

If my client asks me what my fee is and i tell him .."a lot." He may chuckle a minute then say, "Seriously, what do you charge?"  If i won't tell him he hangs up and calls somebody who will tell him the cost of a service.  If i tell my client that it depends on the level of the search and the time involved and can't give him an idea of what i charge color him gone. 

 I am out of this advertising post that boils down to double speak, marketing crap speak in exactly the same way my client would be if i did it and how my candidate would be handled if my client asked him what salary range he is looking for and refused to answer.

Adios and bye bye.  No tickee, no washee.  As a client once said to one of my candidates who refused to discuss his previous or asking salary, "Thank you for your time, we will miss you."


Obviously my friend you are not interested in my business, you didn't ask for it and you can't tell me the cost.  :)  Negotiate that bearhugger.

Comment by New Negotiator on October 19, 2011 at 3:12pm

Sandra: Whoa. I guess Texas in is your blood. If you can't go off half cocked, I guess you won't go off at all.

If I have a prospect, and he explains the job he's interviewing for, and his history, I'll give him a price right away.It will be expensive.

You are misreading, and distorting, my "a lot' comment. That is what a candidate sometimes will say to a stupid question asked by a hiring manager. A question that should not be asked. Or answered. Just because you don't see any subtlety in this, don't assume no one else does. It is the job of the hiring company to know what they are willing to pay. It is not the job of the candidate to figure that out, or to throw out a figure he's willing to work for. The offer comes from the firm doing the hiring. The response comes from the candidate. Then the bargaining begins. What you want is to reverse the order, and have the candidate throw in his chips before the game has even started. That works for low level employees with low level skills. I'm playing a different game. 

Comment by Bill Schultz on October 19, 2011 at 3:29pm

16 Things to Do for Better Interviewing

1. Do what your recruiter advises. 

2. Be yourself- don't win a job unless you're right for it.

3-16. Accept the offer and take 2 weeks off.  

Let me know where to mail the invoice.


Comment by New Negotiator on October 19, 2011 at 3:29pm

Amy: What I would like is an opportunity to work with candidates who want a very high level of engagement on their interview experience and career change; someone who's not afraid of a different approach. The method I teach and coach is not for everyone. But for those who are qualified, and for those who get it, this is a remarkably effective way to separate themselves from the pack of candidates who are competing for the same position. This is a disciplined system that is hard work. I ask, and expect, a lot from the candidate. There is not much that is easy about it. It gets results. If you have candidates that are suitable, I'd love to talk to them. If you don't, thank you for asking.  


Comment by Sandra McCartt on October 19, 2011 at 4:32pm

Sorry but there is a big difference between half cocked and straight shooting.  I shoot low because they could be riding shetlands and i hardly ever miss.  Texans walk straight at people.  That means we ask what we need to know and answer questions with answers that mean something more than "it depends".  The only thing that weasels around in Texas is a weasel or a snake.

It is not up to the company to put their salary ranges out there.  Most don't.  They require in most situations an idea of what a candidate expects before they will bother to interview.  Particularly in upper level positions my clients ask me to ascertain a salary range before i bring a candidate to the table and not bring them a trained monkey that has been coached to do an interview show.

My take is that an interview is a business meeting between two professional people and should not be played like a game.  Shoot straight, say what you can and want to do, ask what they want done and if you can do and want to say so.  If not shake hands and move on.  It's not an ego trip to see if you can get an offer of some kind then try and bump it around before you say no.

Like we say in Texas, "You can put your boots in the oven but that don't make em' biscuits."


Comment by Amy Ala Miller on October 19, 2011 at 6:51pm

Thanks for answering Michael, I appreciate it.  I wonder if it's a cultural thing... I would never put forth a candidate who was not willing to discuss salary, nor would my hiring managers have any interest in interviewing someone they didn't know if they could afford.  If we go through all that effort for a candidate who won't budge below $110K and the position pays max $90K, we've all done a whole lot of work for nothing and wasted everyone's time, including the candidate.  No thanks.

Comment by New Negotiator on October 20, 2011 at 2:26am

Amy: Why is everyone so literal on this salary thing? Of coarse you won't do what you just said. If a position pays $90k, I'd want my candidate to be near there. I should not have mentioned a strategy that is used infrequently. And at much higher levels of compensation. May we move on? 


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