Part 2: How to interview with the pros

About Jeannette Salas

After five years in the oil and gas industry, Jeannette Salas joined the Houston Texans as HR Manager and has loved every minute of it! Jeannette is responsible for all recruiting, onboarding, compliance, employee relations, and training. "I also travel locally and regionally visiting universities and speaking to students regarding interviewing, resumes, and careers in sports. I truly enjoy what I do because I enjoy helping others."

Last month we covered how to get the interview. Now you’ve made it to the face-to-face interviews. What do you need to do be prepared?

Preparation

  1. Research. Thoroughly research the organization prior to interview.
    1. How is the team marketing and advertising?
      Insights from Heidi Weingartner, Chief HR Office at the Dallas Cowboys and George Prokos, Sr. VP of Ticket Sales and Services at the Dallas Mavericks

      Insights from Heidi Weingartner, Chief HR Office at the Dallas Cowboys and George Prokos, Sr. VP of Ticket Sales and Services at the Dallas Mavericks.

    2. How are they involved in the community?
    3. Who are the C-level executives and managers?
      • Know their names and positions.
      • Look up their backgrounds/bios (team website, Google; LinkedIn)
  2. Questions. Come up with at least five questions to ask about corporate culture, likes/dislikes, challenges, etc. Why? Good questions:
    1. Should be written down.
    2. Show interest.
    3. Allow you to get FREE valuable information from someone in your career choice on how to move up and be successful in your career.

The best question a candidate asked me was, “What do you like and not like about your position?” Asked sincerely, this question showed a personal interest in me and what goes on here every day.

The interview

How important is this interview to you? If you are selected from the 100’s of resumes received, I’m assuming it should be important to you.

  1. Attire: Dress professionally (suits). More on making the best first impression in next month’s issue.
  2. Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Don’t show up an hour or two early.
  3. Turn off your phone before exiting the car.
  4. No, turn it off. Silent is not good enough.
  5. Be ready to go once you step outside of the car.
    1. Have your hair and/or makeup done before arriving.
    2. Put your jacket on before you exit the car.
    3. You don’t know who’s watching or who you’ll meet when or where along the way.
  6. Have a padfolio, pens and extra copies of your resume.
    1. Some employers intentionally “forget” to bring your resume to the interview.
    2. Someone may forget a pen.
    3. Be prepared.
  7. SMILE!!! Everyone is watching you.
    1. That person you don’t think is watching is the person who talks to the manager right after you leave.
    2. Beware of windows – people like to observe and will give feedback.
  8. Be courteous. Yes, the receptionist counts. Double.
  9. Exude confidence.
    1. Firm handshake.
    2. Make eye contact during interview. (But, don’t stare the person down.)
  10. Relax and be yourself, but remain professional regardless of interviewer’s professionalism.
    1. Removing jacket, unbuttoning tie, etc. is not acceptable
    2. Be personable, but not overly excited.
    3. Keep an engaged, positive posture – no slouching.
    4. Don’t stare.
    5. Don’t fidget:  Biting nails, playing with hair, tapping pen, cracking knuckles, etc.
  11. Stay focused.
    1. Listen to what is being asked and answer the question.
    2. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand question.
    3. Don’t ramble.
  12. Be confident in your answers:
    1. Don’t answer with an upswing inflection, where the cadence of the voice rises as though every sentence ends in a question mark.
    2. Be accountable. Everyone makes mistakes!!!!! Explain what you learned from mistakes and what you did to ensure it was not repeated.
    3. Be able to explain gaps in employment clearly.
  13. Never bash former employers or colleagues. This gives a clue as to how you might view your next employer and colleagues.

Closing the Interview

If you are interviewing for a sales position, they are looking for someone who can close a deal.

  1. Close the interview.
  2. Highlight why you are the best candidate for the position based on the needs identified during the interview.
  3. Show how your strengths make you a good fit for the position.
  4. Show enthusiasm!!!!
  5. Thank interviewers for their time and again give firm handshakes.
  6. Say goodbye to the receptionist by name (s/he always counts).

Next month we’ll cover in more detail steps to success getting jobs in professional sports, including specific do’s and don’ts of professional attire for interviewing, as well as resumes, follow-up, and cover letters.

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