With a decade of expertise in engineering, operations and manufacturing before switching to recruiting in 2000, I possess deep industry expertise. I know how to listen between the lines and make the right match. And after they submit a successful resume, I often mentor candidates on how to interview for their dream job.

The first rule? Keep it simple. As a big sports fan, I’ve found wisdom in coach’s words. Dean Smith, famous Tarheels basketball coach always did just that. When there was 30 seconds left in the game and he called time-out, Dean didn’t give eight different instructions. He didn’t clutter players’ minds. He gave one directive. And that worked.

My interview advice follows suit and comes down to four components

  1. The Elevator Speech.  If you’re planning on winging it, think again. After the hiring manager invites you into their office, they’ll ask you to tell them about yourself. So be ready. Prepare a 45-60 second speech. Start with your first relevant job, end with your most current. Chart your professional course and pepper your story with accomplishments, but no details. Create a pace. Tell a story. Don’t talk too long. Stick to the facts.

Quick Tip: Have an ending to your story. Don’t keep talking. One minute max.

  1. The Accomplishment Script. At some point, they’ll ask you about accomplishments and/or resume metrics.That’s your time to shine. But it’s not about bragging, as this Forbes article says. It’s about seizing the opportunity to go deep. Use the Star Method, which includes situation, task, action and result. Your goal? Help the hiring manager picturing you solving these problems. Another way to talk about yourself is to ask questions. Maybe you say “What’s the most urgent project this person will tackle?” Once you get an answer, use that to talk about how you’ve been successful at this before.

Quick Tip: Know your resume inside and out. Don’t get caught off guard with a question you can’t answer.

  1. The Money Plan. It’s hard to put an exact price tag on a person–especially in a meeting. So don’t expect it. They’ll have a range in mind and that’s it. Assuming the client brings up money, your first line is optimism and collaboration: “I’m very excited about this management role, I feel like it’s the opportunity I’m looking for. I think I’d be a tremendous asset. If you feel the same way, I’m sure we’ll come to a mutual agreement.” If they press you further, state your current salary, benefits and vacation package. If they press again, which rarely happens, simply smile and say “Are we negotiating?”

Quick Tip: Remember that most often the interviewer may not be the final decision-maker.

  1. The Closing: When you feel like the interview is winding down, ask them “Is there anything about my background or experience that you have any more questions about?” Give them the opportunity to make sure. Take that initiative. Let them know you’re interested. Don’t confuse your Dad’s advice about buying a used car with interviewing for a job. It’s not the time to play hard to get. I’ve talked with many hiring managers who thought the candidate was well-qualified, but “didn’t seem that interested in the job.”

Quick Tip: Don’t forget to write a thank you email or note after your job interview. It’s often forgotten and can help you stand out.

If you land yourself a telephone interview, stand up while you talk, as if you are giving a presentation to a group.  You’ll sound more energetic, and your voice will have better tone. Standing will provide lift and elegance to the whole conversation.

~Bob Funderburk has Carolina roots and spent a decade in manufacturing and a decade in recruiting before joining PeopleSuite in 2016. Weightlifting and fatherhood keep him on his toes.  

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