PMP in Practice > 5 Ways You Can Have a Great Interview

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September 2012 Volume 4 | Issue 9
I talk to countless numbers of PMP Project Managers in the course of a year who want to know what they can do to make the most out of their PMP career. They may have a good position currently, but want to know what they can do to make things better for themselves and their family. If this describes you, then below are:

5 Ways You can Have a Great Interview

#1 > Be Excited about the Interview
When you enter a job interview, it’s important to bring your passion and energy, and not come in with the weight of the world on your shoulders. We all have a lot going on in our lives, things related to economic turbulence or other projects we are dealing with, but it’s important during an interview to answer with energy and excitement about the job or your past accomplishments, and not answer in a monotone frequency or worse yet, put your interviewer to sleep.

#2 > Bring your Project Portfolio
Bring samples of your work. Specificity drives credibility, and a portfolio shows your relevance to that job. Include your past experience, maybe tools or techniques that you know or have learned, plans that you have completed in the past, templates, or even an online demo. You can use your iPad or other tablet to show the interviewer work you have accomplished in the past.

If you are responsible for training and have developed training materials it may be important for the interviewer to see the quality of your work. If you’ve been published you may want to bring articles you’ve written for a trade journal, such as PM Network, which is published by PMI. A project notebook showcases template samples and how you keep information organized. Share some of the things you’ve spoken about and bring pictures of you in front of a group of people presenting.

Leave behind a nice folder with copies of what you’ve shown them. Make sure there is nothing proprietary or that crosses the line of intellectual property. The folder should be something colorful that matches your own personal branding, so that they can go back and look at more details when you are gone. It’s important to show what you can bring to the table.

#3 > Highlight Your Mobility
Show mobilization and socialization. That’s very important today. Most teams are mobile, or at least need to be able to communicate effectively with remote or mobile members. If you have to be out between projects, show that you have some kind of mobile device whether it’s an iPhone, Blackberry, iPad or any other technology. Plus, highlight any project management discussions you may actively participate in on LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media technology. It shows your potential employer that you are keeping up with the changing times and not afraid to embrace technology.

#4 > Dress the Part
There is something to be said for dressing for success. It’s important for both men and women to know the environment they are entering. Ask your interviewer or recruiter what the environment is like so you’ll know how to dress appropriately. Even if you are interviewing intra-company, it’s important; maybe business units are different. If you are more client or customer-facing it may be more important for you to dress one way than if you are working with, for example, technical resources. And of course, if you are meeting with the executive team it’s important to be dressed appropriately.

#5 > Be Engaging
You need to actively participate in the conversation. It’s not a one way street where the interviewer interrogates you.  Ask your interviewer questions and show interest. One of the assumptions an interviewer makes is that you’ve prepared prior to the interview, and will know about the company, the job and role, and maybe even about some of your potential team members. Use Google to learn as much as you can, and come to the conversation with questions.

Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. By asking good questions, you may discover that it’s not an environment or manager that you want to work for. Be genuine. Really know your strengths and know what you are passionate about. For example, there are things you may not enjoy anymore, even though you enjoyed them in the past.  It’s important that you know exactly what the expectations are for you in that role, and to know if your strengths equip you for the job. Ask, “Is that really my strength? Is this something I am well-equipped to do? Is this something I even want to do anymore?” Out of fairness to yourself and to the interviewer or company, it’s important to not engage in or agree to a role that maybe you are not excited about.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to get an interview in the first place, purchase our Career Series Bundle and earn 5 Category A PDUs!

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