- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2009

Q After weeks of sending cover letters and resumes, I landed an interview with a company on my “A list.” I don’t want to blow it. It’s a middle management position, and I feel that I am thoroughly qualified; however they are interviewing many people. I want to stand out. Can you help? - E.M., Tennessee

A: It is difficult to give specific advice when all you have is general information. I don’t know you, your background and experience, or the company. But I can share some fantastic information on interviewing from Rob Hellmann, a career coach with more than 20 years of experience associated with the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Mr. Hellmann suggests:

Be a consultant. Take a consultant’s approach to the interview. You are there to find out what the company’s issues are and how you can help address them. Be prepared to discuss:

What can you do for Company X?

Why do you want to work for Company X?

Will you fit in?

Prepare your pitch. Practice and share your two-minute pitch on what you can do for the company and why you are the right fit.

Research. Like any consultant would do, make sure you know the ins and outs of the company - their history, their goals, their mission. Know it and mention it throughout your interview.

Address the fear. Be prepared to answer questions you’re afraid of answering, like:

Why have you been out of the workplace?

Aren’t your skills dry because you’ve been out of the workplace?

Why did you leave your last job?

Share stories. Sell your skills, but share a story or two on how your skills were used effectively.

On the interview, aim for a discussion. Every question is an opportunity to circle back to your goal of showing what you can do for them today.

Don’t be negative. Never bad-mouth a former boss or company, and stay focused on your goal.

After the interview. Ask them how you stack up against other candidates, and in your thank you letter, show them why you’re the right choice. “I’m a good fit because … .”

c E-mail Marvin Walberg at mwalberg@bellsouth.net or marvinwalberg.blogspot.com.

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