Some of you look forward to this part of the job hunting process because it brings out the extrovert in you but some of you dread it because it can be really tough.
In this article, you will find ten tips that will help you during your interview and prepare you to showcase your best self.
- Dig, dig, and dig: We cannot stress this enough: do your due diligence. Know and learn everything you can about the company, your employer, the interviewer, co-workers, etc. Use LinkedIn, Google, news articles, local papers, company websites. Research is so important and it comes through during the interview as it lets you add to the conversation rather than those head nods you do to pretend like you know what they’re talking about or because you find it “interesting.” You will come off as impressive if you happen to know a case they worked on a year ago, are able to mention an article written about their company, or know of someone who has a connection to you and the company. Keep digging and document your research so you have it all in one place.
- Take action: Doing research is fantastic but it goes nowhere if you don’t act on it. This part can be a little uncomfortable, but reaching out to employees of the company prior to your interview can actually be really helpful! Not only do you then know more people in the company but it showcases that you’re willing to go the extra mile. Even if it’s a simple email or an informal interview over coffee or drinks (be wise!), it could go a long way.
- Be a STAR: If you’re not familiar with it yet, here’s the gist on the STAR method. It provides you with one of the best ways to answer resume-based interview questions with clarity. If you follow it, your responses will be concise, concrete, and clear. It’s not a trick but it directly gets your interviewer to the meat of your answer. S stands for Situation: what was the situation you were faced with? T stands for Task: what tasks were involved in that situation? A stands for Action: what actions did you take? R stands for Results: what were the results of those actions? By answering every question in this format, you’re showing the interviewer two very important things – that you know how to answer a question directly and specifically, and you have thought about what you are going to say and aren’t rambling. Not only does this come across as professional, but it also makes them more confident in your communication skills.
- Tell me about it: Those “tell about a time” questions are your friends. During the interview, look out for the questions that are asking for a story. This is where you can bring out that shiny personality of yours and show how you are qualified for the job. Stories are great because they’re real. You were there so who better to tell someone about what you did, why you did it, and how you did it, if not you? Use this to your advantage. If you combine storytelling with the STAR method, you can really impress the interviewer.
- Genuinity: Interviewers are trained to detect insincerity. Be yourself. If the question is about the future, your current values, or even past experiences, don’t lie or hide. Like any new relationship, you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. Be real and true to what and who you are because ultimately, they’re going to know you when and if you get the job. Make the impression you want to make, but make sure it’s the real you.
- Body talk: On the phone, you can hide, but when you’re face to face with your interviewer, it’s not just your lips that are talking – your body and face are too. This is important to keep in mind because sometimes you don’t realize that you’ve crossed your arms or have a resting frown face. It sometimes takes practice to be able to get rid of these little habits, but if your mouth and body are speaking the same language, your interviewer is listening. Since we’re talking about your body, be sure to dress professionally. Get the dress code beforehand so you’re not over or underdressed.
- Why: This is really important and sometimes overlooked. Companies want to know why you’re interested in working for them. Is it the paycheck, location, holidays, values, or people? It matters because whatever answer you give them could determine the future you have with the company. It can be tough for those of you who have never had any experience so you may not know what you want or why, but, if you know what you want to learn from the company, who you want to learn from, or why this company is a fit for you, mention it. It doesn’t hurt and shows that you have thought through your application. Plus, it makes them feel like you wanted them too.
- Two-way communication: Make sure the employer knows the benefits of employing you. Sell yourself by telling the employer details of your relevant skills and experience that you have to contribute to the organization. But, try not to monopolize the meeting – let your interviewer talk too. Learn about their experiences and engage in the conversation.
- Questions: This is the last bit of the interview, but it’s super important because it shows your curiosity. Ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency, and profitability of the organization. Find out what the key parts of the candidate specification are so you can show how you meet them with your past experiences. Use what you have researched on the company to come up with questions prior to the interview. Some questions may have been answered during the interview so skip those, but come up with smart questions that go beyond “what’s your favorite/least favorite part of the job?” Think of questions like “Why does this job exist? What problems will it solve? What are the Key Result Areas?” Essentially, you want to second-guess the employer’s “shopping list” from the job details so that you know the exact role you are in for. Don’t leave without feeling confident that you have everything you need to know.
- Prepare for rejection but ask for feedback: Realistically, you will be rejected more times than accepted. But, what you can gain from an interview is feedback. You can learn a huge amount about your perceived market value. Ask for feedback and learn from your mistakes – you’re bound to make a few.
*An extra tip to get you through the interview smoothly! In regards to logistics for the day, don’t forget to plan your journey to ensure you arrive a few minutes early. Allow for possible travel delays because you never know what will come up. Arrive 15 minutes before your interview, but make sure you have your interviewer’s telephone number so that you can call if you suspect you will be late. Also, don’t forget to firmly shake your interviewer’s hand while making direct eye contact.
All in all, good luck and do the best you can! This process can be draining but there’s a job out there for anybody willing to work for it.