How To Get a Job Offer From Every Interview

About four years ago a friend told me one night that she had an interview the next week and was looking for some comfort as she was extremely nervous, as most people are about interviews. I thought back on my my carreer and realized that in the nine year of my career I had been to thirteen interviews and, more importantly, that I had received a job offer from every one of those interviews. I did not accept all the offers, but the point is that I had not once been to an interview without getting a job offer from it.

In the past four years, I have been to another 6 interviews, of which I did not get job offers for 2 of them. The one was an interview at Volkswagen which a friend had setup because he "wanted" me to work there and by the time we started the interview, I realized that the position was not in my field at all. The second one was a telephonic interview, which I hate, and I simply did not see eye to eye with the person who interviewed me. I did go for an interview with another manager at the same company a couple of weeks later and started working there 2 days later.

Job offers from 17 out of 19 interviews is not a bad track record and no, I am not some kind of a technical genius that every company would want to employ simply by looking at my resume. I am a computer programmer and there are many programmers out there with better technical skills than me.

The secret, I believe is confidence. Not necessarily confidence in yourself, but creating confidence in your interviewer's mind. I once had a 4 1/2 hour interview in Sydney, Australia. Before that I could not imagine such a long interview was possible, it was for a very senior position. If, like most people, you don't like interviews in general, imagine sitting there for 4 1/2 hours. Anyway, about halfway through the interview, the interviewer told me that he had another 2 or 3 people that he's considering for the position, but that he's got a "warm and fuzzy feeling" about me.

Not something I really want to hear from another male, but when he said that, I realized that the job was mine.

Your objective, then, is to create that "warm and fuzzy" feeling in your interviewer's mind.

Before an interview, I always think of what I would like to see in the other person if I was on the other side of the table, in other words, if I was interviewing somebody else for this position. Computer programming is considered as a technical field, even on a managerial level, but the technical aspect has very seldom been the deciding factor, unless the interviewer has poor people skills or a lack of experience.

Generally anybody with a bit of experience will be more interested in your personality than your technical abilities. I am assuming, of course, that you are applying for positions which you are in some way qualified to fill. So how do you focus on your personality and what personality traits should you try to demonstrate? Let me give you some examples of what I consider as important in an interview.

There are two dreaded questions that used to come up in every interview a couple of years ago, though I haven't heard them for a while now. What are 5 of your strengths and what are 5 of your weaknesses? Whenever I got the first of these two questions, I would start my answer with "Yes, I knew this was coming so I thought about it last night and..." or something along those lines.

It sounds wrong, because the intention of those questions is to see whether you know yourself. If you have to think about it the previous night, it doesn't say much about your self-knowledge. Nonetheless, I do this for two reasons. Firstly, I'm being honest with them. Everybody prepares for an interview, or at least you should! I'm just showing them that I'm a real person and that I don't claim to have all the answers. Secondly, it's a tension breaker. Quite often, if it is an experienced interviewer, they will make some comment about you having to prepare your answers in advance and this gives you an opportunity to sidetrack from their "prepared" questions. The more you can get to speak freely with the interviewer and not as a response to a question, the more opportunity you have of showing them your real character. It also passes the time so that they don't have to think up irrelevant technical questions to make the interview "long enough".

Also keep in mind that nobody is expected to have all the right answers. As I said before, I am not the know-it-all genius of computer programming, so in most interviews there is at least one question for which I do not have the answer or topic that I do not know about. When this happens, I do not pretend to have the answer or try to sound intelligent about the topic. I simply tell them that I do not know.

What's important, though, is the way you say you don't know. Even if the words coming out of your mouth are as simple as "I don't know", the perception that your attitude should portray is that he or she does not know, but it's okay that they don't know. In other words, say it with confidence and self respect. "I don't know because I've never needed to use that in the past" or "I normally use such and such instead" and, if possible, tell them why you prefer your alternative. Also try to tell them how you would learn this topic if it is required in your new position.

This, again, achieves two objects. It shows them your problem solving abilities and it gives you another opportunity to speak freely. Finally, if you have no clue what they're talking about, ask them to explain the topic or to give you an example. Again, speaking freely and showing them that you are interested in learning and also that you are comfortable in their company.

I also think one of the key factors for anybody in an interview is to see that you can think for yourself and that you have your own opinions. DO NOT use yes/no answers!! Every question that an interviewer asks should be seen as an opportunity for you to speak and not a hurdle that you have to cross as quickly as possible. Of course you must stay on topic or they will think you are trying to evade the question. However, try to elaborate and give them examples to show your experience and understanding of the topic.

Even if this is your first interview and you have no working experience, it should not be a problem - remember you are trying to steer the conversion towards your personality and not your technical skills. Even after 13 years in the industry, I still use a lot of examples and stories (short stories, stay on topic) from my personal life to answer interview questions.

I have now mentioned this "speaking freely" a number of times and I guess that's the basis of it all. Remember that the person on the other side of the desk is nothing but that, just another person. I always try to be early for an interview so that I have some time to relax after the traffic. During those last couple of minutes, I stand outside having a cigarette and I play out a little scene in my mind, which I would rather not repeat here. Anyway, it boils down to me having a casual conversation with the interviewer and explaining to them that we're all in the same boat. We're all here on this planet for a short time and all just trying to make the best of things. Yes, it sounds stupid, I know. But for me it re-affirms in my mind that the person I am about to talk to is just another person and that I should treat them as that.

So let me summarize. Focus on your personality, not your technical abilities. Unless you're the best in your industry, in which case I'm talking to the other 99.999% in your industry. Remember that the interviewer is just another person and treat them as one by speaking to them as you would somebody that you have known for a while. This is the only way you can have some control of steering the conversation in the direction you want. While being comfortable and speaking your mind, do show respect at the same time and remember, it's still their interview, so let them have the final control. Finally, BE HONEST.

About The Author

Dirk Wessels is a computer programmer and runs unique-jobs.co.za in his spare time. You may reproduce this article as long as you include this About the Author section and a reference to unique-jobs.co.za.

Job Interviews: Succeeding With Panel Interviews

These days, job interviews often consist of a panel of three-to-six interviewers.A "team approach" to... Read More

Illegal Interview Questions -- Be Prepared

I'll quickly cover the following:A) Why Employer Ask Illegal Interview Questions.B) Examples of Illegal Interview... Read More

How To Find A Job As A Copy Editor

Jobs for copy editors may seem like they are hard to find, but really you... Read More

Resumes, Networking, Headhunters ? Useless Without Marketing Sweet Spot

A career transition is no longer about getting your hands on a list of contacts,... Read More

Ten Careers For High School Seniors Who Hate School

Let's face it?not everybody likes going to school and high school can be a terrible... Read More

CDL Practice Test ? Offers Practice Tests To Prepare For The CDL Exam

As you take CDL practice test, you do become more familiar with the CDL test,... Read More

Avoid Mistakes and Gaffes in Your Job Resume

Having mistakes and gaffes in your job resume spell disaster for your job search. The... Read More

Acing The Interview

It's no secret that there is a lot of competition for writing jobs.What makes or... Read More

Searching for an Executive Job

A job search for executives is far less complicated today than it has been in... Read More

Job Hunting Tips: Accepting Judgment

Applying for work is stressful, no matter the circumstances. Even if you are already working,... Read More

Consultants - If We Cant Laugh At Ourselves?

There are hundreds of varieties of Consultants these days. We can find Consultants to take... Read More

Using Journal to Support Your Job Search

Are you searching for a job? Here are some tips on how you can use... Read More

The 6 Stages of Modern Career Development

Career experts say that people will change careers (not jobs) 5-7 times in a lifetime.... Read More

Job Search Techniques: Smashing The Gray Ceiling

For decades, women have chaffed at the invisible glass ceiling which prevents their moving into... Read More

Your Interview Questions Are a Serious Matter

Of course interviews are mainly about you answering the questions they put to you, but... Read More

Tips on How to Write High Impact Letters of Recommendation

Congratulations. You've been asked to write a letter of recommendation for an employee or colleague.... Read More

Why Do You Want This Job?

Why Do You Want This Job? Is it because any job will do, or is... Read More

What is Workers Compensation Fraud

What is FraudFraud occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally conceals, misrepresents, and makes a... Read More

Your Interview Secret Weapon

Have you ever been on a date where you had nothing in common so you... Read More

Dont Settle

Chuck was the best of the twenty-four candidates. Still, he didn't have exactly what I... Read More

Top 10 Super Job Interview Tips

Use these interview tips for job hunting success!It's a tough job market out there today.... Read More

Old Hiring Foxes vs. The Hedgehogs

You are about to compete for the best people again. The recovery is happening. Labor... Read More

Finally Revealed: The Top 7 Resume Killers?

During my job search I read dozens of books and articles took... Read More

Business Experience is YOUR Security Cover

Some may want to interpret "independent" to mean WITHOUT others. None of us are truly... Read More

4 Tips for Making Successful Job Offers

The interviews are completed, the paperwork is all filled out for Human Resources, and you... Read More

Get Beyond Your Tasks

Ever hear the story of the two masons working side by side at a building... Read More

60 Hour Work Weeks - Can You and Your Career Survive Them

In the 80s while I was an account executive for AT&T most people in my... Read More

Creating a Feng Shui Power Office: 6 Easy Tips to More Successful Surroundings

More and more people are looking to gain an edge in their working environments. One... Read More

Career Tips: How To Start A New Career

These days most people accept that jobs are not for life anymore. People are more... Read More

If Youre Fired, Will Past Employers Keep Your Secret?

Despite what some job seekers think, it is not illegal for former employers to tell... Read More

Ten Healthcare Fields That Cant Wait To Hire You

Healthcare is one of the hottest career fields in America today. The aging and retiring... Read More

Job Hunting Tips: Organizing Your Attack

Looking for work is an energy-devouring ordeal, often leading to running in circles and not... Read More

Why Choose A Professionally Written Resume?

Good question, considering that nowadays you can find many useful resources to help you write... Read More

What To Do When A Co-Worker Turns Nasty

A friend of mine laments that work would be great if only there were no... Read More

Considering a Career Change?

Are you thinking about a career change? Many people do this because of specific problems... Read More

How to Become a Successful Freelance Translator

After completing their translation training programmes at higher professional education or university level, many students... Read More

Top 5 Tips for College Grads Entering the Working World

1) Build a Relationship With Your Boss:Like it or not, no single individual has a... Read More

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is an excellent way to make extra money. In fact, some people make... Read More

Interview Preparation Made Easy: Create An Interview Preparation List

Here's a quick way to compare your own job experience and qualifications with those that... Read More

The Musketeer Approach

Stories of intrigue, treachery, politics, lies, double crosses, and power struggles fill the... Read More

5 Ways to Profit From No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (No Child Left Behind) is designed to... Read More

Lets Talk About Trust

I agree with Brooker T. Washington, "Few things help an individual more than to place... Read More

Tips for Getting Your Movie Career Launched

Hollywood helps those who help themselves! In you want to get your movie career fast... Read More

Free Resume Template: What Makes a Good One?

You can drown in the "free resume examples," "free resume templates," and "free resume samples"... Read More

Changing Careers? How to Get Around the Three Major Mental Roadblocks to Success

A part of you can't wait to dive into your new career -- but you're... Read More

Five Powerful Tips for Interns

Interning is about more than earning money during summer break. It's a wonderful way to... Read More

Career Change - Creating Wealth & Happiness

Whether you have a business idea or not, here's what I want you to do?I... Read More

Tips on Finding Employment as a Corporate Flight Attendant

I will not pretend that this is the easiest topic to write about. In fact,... Read More

Overcoming Inertia in Job Change

If you can hold on to an optimistic belief in the possibility of success, you... Read More

Planning Your Successful Career: 15 Ideas

"Doing a good job is one of the most important ways to move up the... Read More