Rocking the interview

Mark Wiskup, communications company president and one-on-one communication coach to CEOs and Fortune 500 companies, spoke at the Alumni Center Thursday night on how to “Interview Like a Rock Star.”

“Understand the employer’s point of view,” Wiskup advised. “They’re sweating just like you are.”

Wiskup showed his audience that the average $30,000 yearly salary actually costs a company $38,000 after including things such as Social Security, insurance, computer and cubical access. This is the sum before things such as training, which may cost an employer an additional $5,000.

He said that potential employees should “go to the stinkin’ company Web site, print it out, read them over and over again until you are accustomed to them.” This is to show interest and acclimate you to the culture, he said. Employment hopefuls should not only be familiar with these pages of information, but also should bring them to the interview and display them to the employer.

Wiskup advises to develop three questions about each of these topics: customers, products and services, and company growth plans. Make these questions engaging and get the interviewer to expand on them. “They like that,” Wiskup said.

Interviewees should have a story to go with every point on the resume, Wiskup said. Also remember that your educational story, job-experience story and hobbies/interests stories all have to sell your investment value to the employer. In other words, he said, be prepared to talk about these in details.

To “Interview Like a Rock Star,” you need confidence. Wiskup said the key to this is looking great.

“You know what it (confidence) looks like.”

He also advises to “never walk in empty handed.”

It would be good to show up to your interview three minutes early, Wiskup said. This shows that you are “prompt and early but not needy; you have a life, too.”

Interviewees should also accept something to drink if it is offered, he said. This shows that you are not intimidated of your position, and that you are “sociable, a colleague and a guest – just don’t ask for a vodka on the rocks with a twist.”

You shouldn’t give yourself labels, such as “I’m a people person.” Instead, Wiskup said you should “talk about tasks you can accomplish for them, and use resume stories for examples of why you’re right for the job.”

When wrapping up the interview, Wiskup encourages interviewees to ask for the job.

“Tell them, ‘I want to work for you,'” he said.

Ask how you stand and when a good time to follow up with the employer is, Wiskup also said. Interviewees should write a “thank you” note and mail it that same day, including something specific to the interview on it.

Selling yourself is key, he said: “A diploma doesn’t hustle, a person hustles.”

Wiskup said that following his advice does not guarantee a job, but does guarantee “a good experience.”