Okay, you’re in the door.  You’ve smiled at the receptionist, met the HR representative, and you’re speaking with the hiring manager.

Now what?

Here’s what you need to do, as quickly as you can: ascertain the skills, the experience, and the objective being sought by the company and the interviewer.  Doing so will allow you to correctly calibrate both your questions and answers throughout the interview.  Below is an example of what you might say:

“The recruiter gave me enough information to get excited about your opportunity, but I still have somewhat of a fuzzy picture of your needs.  Could you describe the position and what sort of problems need to be solved?”

Okay, let’s say you’ve ascertained the employer’s needs.  What’s next?  You must convince the employer of your capabilities.  The best way to do this is by presenting examples of previous accomplishments that are relevant to the position.  The basic theme of any interviewing process is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

This means that whatever the interviewer discovers about your past will be assumed to repeat in the future.  Winners continue to be winners, and losers, well . . .

Remember this: the interviewer’s interest in you is purely selfish.  It’s not different than your selfish interest in the company.  They want to hire the person who can do the most for them.  As a result, all attention should be focused on what the company wants, with your agenda temporarily taking a backseat.

If you focus attention on yourself, you will get in trouble in a hurry.  Once you’ve created a strong desire in the company to hire you, you can lay out the things you want, and if they’re within the realm of reason, you have an excellent chance of achieving them.

So focus on the company’s wants and not your own—at least initially—and let good things come to you.

(For more information about successfully preparing for YOUR next interview, download a copy of Dan Simmons’s e-Book, Put Your Best You Forward: Simple Steps to a Successful Interview.)