Congratulations! You secured an interview and now it is just you against yourself for that dream job.
Interviews can take place in a number of formats. For example, recent trends include a group and/or panel interview. Additionally, more and more companies are asking candidates to produce samples of the work that they would produce in their job to help highlight their skills. Lastly, the case interview still remains a popular method for assessing a candidates ability to analyze and is being used more and more outside of consulting.
But interview processes are strife with problems. We tend to connect with people who are like us and make us feel good. And let’s face it, would you hire a candidate who may have an amazing skillset, but rubbed you the wrong way? No. However, that does not mean that you can’t use your interview to land that job. Here are a few key areas that will help you nail your interview. Since each interview type requires its own guide, let’s start with tips for the most common type of interview – the behavioral.
An interview is a sales job. You need to sell yourself. The best way I have heard it phrased is that you need to convince the interview team that you can perform the job well, that you are a good cultural fit and that you want to work there. The rest of the tips will help you with ideas on how to structure your answers to be able to meet these targets. But make sure you on are on full sell mode.
Know your accomplishments
An interview is a chance for the humble brag. As an interviewer I need you to convince me that you know what you are doing. One way to do this is highlight where you have done this before. If you have not, prior to your interview create a brag list. Now don’t be aggressive in your bragging, but listing your accomplishments and making sure the interviewer knows them is required.
Know the organization
If it is a public company, you should always read the annual report. Make sure you also read the company’s recent press releases and know basics like who is the executive leadership. Also, do not be afraid to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn and understand some personal details about the person. This also includes using resources like Glassdoor (which you should take with a grain of salt). Use your networks – professional organizations, college alumni organizations, etc. to see if you know someone who works in the company and ask them the hard questions.
During and after the interview
During the interview make sure you keep your energy up. If your interview is a phone interview stand up and smile so your energy is projected over the phone. If it is in-person make sure your phone is either off or on silent and under no circumstances should you answer it. Dress professionally in your power outfit so you feel confident. If you wear a scent go light on the scent. After the interview send a thank you note. While handwritten is best, sending an email is okay. Check it for spelling and grammar errors and use it as a chance to reiterate your strengths.
Remember you are also interviewing them
A job interview is a two-way street. You are interviewing them so make sure you are asking questions about things that are important to you. For example, training and culture are great questions to ask. You should always ask your interviewer a question. Areas to avoid include asking – how did I do?
Here is to a successful job hunt!