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Congratulations! You’ve gotten past the résumé gatekeepers and landed a job interview. But even if you’re completely prepped for your one on one, you still don’t know what to expect from your interviewer. “You have to turn that around and give them a good interview even if they didn’t ask for it,” says Bill Byham, co-founder and CEO of Development Dimensions International, a human resources consulting firm.

Byham, whose company works with Fortune 500 mainstays, is famous for developing a job-interviewing strategy called targeted selection. Its goal is to get job candidates to speak in specifics about their past, which helps predict future performance. Here he shows us how you can turn your interview into a focused and successful hour.  Read more ->

I agree with the article, but I would widen the aperture a little further…as veterans, many of us are familiar with the concept of “knowing the enemy”. Do research on the company online and check the social media profiles of the leadership, hiring point of contact or team (if you know ahead of time) and predecessor if known. Understand as much of the nuance about product lines, functions, and organizational structure as you can. Know what you are getting in to.

I obtained an in-person interview with a firm after a telephone interview and webcast intro presentation. I thought this was sufficient to gain an understanding and as such did only marginal research on the firm and the POC I corresponded with. As a result, I was completely surprised by and unprepared to discuss the actual goals and mission of the organization. After a polite but brief conversation with the hiring manager, it was clear that I was not a fit for the company, nor was the company a fit for me.

Be early, don’t wear your leathers or corfram shoes. It detracts from your appearance and may demonstrate, as a veteran, an inability to integrate with civilian industry to a trained interviewer(s). Dress like you care and know how to dress. It seems a trivial and trifling thing to put in print…but upon hearing that it takes 7 seconds to make definitive judgments about someone, particularly in the interview setting, I procured a set of professional garments suitable to communicate the seriousness of my intentions toward attaining employment. There are guides and recommendations online, familiarize yourself with them.

Know thyself…prepare your thoughts and experiences and as this article states, be ready to recall and describe specific instances that apply to the questions being asked. Have notable achievements, challenges, and failures coupled with the associated experiential lessons and outcomes on the tip of your tongue. Don’t overstay your welcome when answering by talking too long. Speak clearly, tell the “story” and wrap it up. A “wag” might be 90 seconds for a complex answer to an interview question. Take notice if the interviewer has lost interest by breaking eye contact or other indicators. If they lose interest, finalize your answer. If the answer is engaging for the interviewer, they might ask for additional information/explanation.

Make sure your social media profiles are properly secured, populated with relevant corroborating content (as it pertains to your resume and experience), and of course ensure they are free of questionable content.

Know your worth…this is a tricky topic for me to address effectively, but suffice it to say, as veterans, familiarize yourself with civilian salary ranges and health benefits and provisions. Be informed, flexible, and most of all realistic. Statistics vary, but it might be that you take a reduction in salary to secure location, benefits, or opportunities for advancement.

Jason Brugman is an active duty member of the Air National Guard.  He is also a transitioning veteran who experienced military-to-civilian transition and the civilian recruiting process first-hand.


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