Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Interview Skills That Will Win You The Job

To get to the top of the candidate list, you’ll need these three essential Interview skills:

  1. Pre-interview preparation

  2. Finding and using the interviewer’s “Hot Buttons”

  3. Closing on the next step of the interview process

  1. Pre-interview preparation

    Minimally, you’ll want to find out company size, products or services, major competitors, and any recent news items. It’s also very helpful to know some of the major players in their organization, a little history on them and future products, markets or growth objectives. An internet search will give you some of these answers, but getting the answers first hand from inside contacts is even better. Search your network of contacts for people who work or have worked for the organization. Look through your LinkedIn second tier network to see who of your network is connected to people associated with your target company. Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction.

    Once your company research is done it’s time to think about your career achievements. Examine your career for examples of how you have solved problems, saved money, increased revenue, or created revenue opportunities for your former employers. As much as possible, quantify your contributions. You’ll win interview points by using these success stories to answer behavioral interview questions.

  2. Finding and using the interview “Hot Buttons”

    An interviewer’s hot button is his/her unspoken concerns or wishes . You’ll be way ahead of the game if you can uncover these issues. There are two magic questions that will reveal the interviewer’s hot buttons.

    • “What do you see as the greatest challenge for this position?”

    • “What qualities do you see as most important for this position?”
  3. When you have the answers to these questions you’ll be able to frame your answers to fit the desires of the interviewer.

  4. Closing on the next step of the interview process

    The term “closing” is a sales term that means influencing one to agree to take certain action. If you’ve purchased a car lately you know that the sale starts with the test drive and moves forward through a series of carefully crafted questions such as

    “Do you prefer silver or black?”

    “Which of you will be the primary driver?”

    “Shall we park this in the sale-pending area?”

    “Do you wish to trade in your car, or shall we finance this 100%?”

As a clever sales person identifies the small closing steps needed to move the sale forward, so must the job seeker understand the closes necessary to keep the interview process moving forward toward a job offer. Those steps look something like this:

In the first interview ask for a second interview.

“When would you like to schedule our next meeting?”

“Is there any reason you wouldn’t consider inviting me back for second interview?”

“Who will I meet in the second interview?”

In the second interview ask to speak with the decision maker.

“Who, besides yourself, will make the final hiring decision?”

“When is convenient for Mr. /Ms. Decision Maker to meet with me?”

“Are there any other presentation materials I should bring when I visit with Mr./Ms. Decision Maker?”

When speaking with the decision maker ask for the job offer:

“Are there any objections that prevent you from extending an offer?

“When would you like me to start?”

“What challenges would you have me tackle first?”

Asking for the next interview or the job offer may seem bold, but try it. You’ll find yourself invited back more often and feel much more in control of the interview process. Once you’ve mastered and applied the three essential interviewee skills for you’ll see your job-search efforts accelerate and your confidence soar.

- Deborah Walker, CCMC

Resume Writer ~ Career Coach

Find resume and job-search tips in the article archive at