You are now scheduled for an interview which will bring you one step closer to landing your dream job. Everyone gets a little nervous during an interview, but you should take extra steps in advance to help you demonstrate your best self. Here are five excellent ways to help you dominate your discussion.
Know the interviewer/company:
Knowing the interviewer really depends on the size and accessibility of the company. A large company is probably getting a high volume of applicants with multiple HR people evaluating the pool, so tracking down your specific interviewer can be difficult. But even in the situation of a larger company, don’t be afraid to search on the company website or LinkedIn to make a few networking connections. Speaking to current employees to discuss their experiences at the company will not only give you a leg up on the other applicants, but if you impress enough you might get a good word put-in to the hiring manager from the person you made the connection with! It shows how you’re willing to go above and beyond and you’d love the opportunity to work there.
While getting in contact with an employee is not a must, learning about the company definitely is! You HAVE to do the research on the company’s biggest clients, competitors, and latest news. The quickest way to get your resume thrown in the “No” pile is by not having answers to questions easily solved by just googling the company name.
Know your resume:
Every bullet on your resume is a part of your life. Be prepared with a considerable degree of detail to respond to every point on your resume. If any bullet point is weak, and you are not certain how you are going face the counter question, then it is better to remove that point. The worst response ever is, “Yeah, I just put that on my resume to fill up some more space.” So don’t put yourself in a situation to give that answer.
It’s amazing people still do this, but proofread to make sure there are no typos! If you can’t handle a single sheet of paper, how can you handle the responsibility of a full-time job?
Present your best self
These are a collection of things that seem small, but collectively as a whole will have a big effect on the interviewer. Firstly, make sure to allow yourself enough time for travel and arrive at least 15 minutes early. Showing up late is an instant rejection for the position.
Next as the old saying goes, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” Plan your outfit that fits the company and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. It’s always better to be overdressed than under. There are additional ways to stand out, like wearing an eye-catching and stylish watch. Studies have shown that wearing a watch will make observers subconsciously consider you to be older, to have a higher income level, and to have a higher IQ.
Finally, you must consider your literal physical presentation. This includes your handshake grip, maintaining good eye-contact, and having upright posture. When you give an answer, make sure you speak with confidence and conviction. You want to project a good level of enthusiasm with each answer, as well. Being positive and smiling will make you all the more likable.
No interview will be exactly the same. For technical positions, the subject expertise, technical know-how, depth, clarity, and command to handle a range of issues may dominate the factors of consideration. For less technical positions, it’s more about your character and how you react to different situations. As noted above, no interview is the same, but you can safely assume there will be some questions about your strengths and weaknesses, a time you overcame adversity, why they should hire you, and other very common interview questions. You should prepare a few responses to these questions that stand out in the interviewer’s mind. They will hear a ton of very similar answers throughout the hiring process from all of the applicants that will blend together, so it’s crucial to make a good impression. Use these three checkpoints when crafting a response:
- Does my answer sufficiently and accurately answer what the interviewer is asking?
- Does my answer highlight the skills and traits the interviewer is looking for?
- Does my answer stand out from the other applicants’ responses?
This checkpoint test is essential to make your responses pack the most punch in the interviewer’s mind.
Normally at the end of the interview, there will be an opportunity for you to ask the interviewer questions. Your goal from these questions should be either to gain a better understanding of the work environment/position, or to further showcase your critical thinking skills. A good example of the first instance would be questions about what to expect in a typical workday or the company culture. Questions like these help let you know if you would be a good fit at the company. An example of bad questions for the first instance would be asking how much money they make or other personal questions.
It’s best to think of a few questions ahead of time that also showcase your critical thinking skills. A good example would be something like, “Now that your biggest competitor has just released a new version of their product, what are the ways this company is adjusting their products to compete?” Even better would be offering a few ideas of your own.
By using these five tips to prepare for your next interview, you will be sure to land your dream job in no time! Comment below with any additional strategies that have worked well for you.