When you’ve successfully mastered cover letters and resumes and are finally getting called for interviews, it’s about time to understand how to succeed in the interview process so that you could get closer to your goal of getting the job offer you want.
The interview process is another barrier that could prevent you from getting the offer. Preparing for the interview can sometimes feel nerve-wrecking since you really have no idea what you're preparing for and all... Or what questions you'll get asked or what the interviewer will throw your way.
So how does one truly prepare themselves for this? The answer is simple: companies don't invest in potential; they invest in candidates that best match the role both skillset- and culture-wise.
I wrote this article to focus on the most critical interviewing tips for job seekers--regardless of the position being applied for.
Research the Organization, Interviewer and Job Description:
Successful interviewing begins with a solid foundation of knowledge on the part of the candidate, so job seekers must always conduct research on the company to be able to: (1) speak to what the company does, (2) describe how you could contribute to organizational goals, and (3) explain why you support their mission. You’d also want to relate to the interviewer by learning about his personal background.
By studying the job description, you can really familiarize yourself on your skill sets, relevant experience and achievements that are mostly relevant to the job details. This gives a good idea about how hiring managers think about, prioritize and describe the position. Rehearse what you’ve written down on your resume and practice how to convey what you bring to the table in a consistent manner (with proper body language).
Always Be Prepared to Answer the Common Questions:
Another key to interview success is preparing the responses to the questions you’ll get asked. The tricky thing with this, though, is you never know what sort of interview style you will face. While some interviewers prefer an informal approach (where you’re likely to ask most of the questions), others already have in mind what job-specific questions they’ll ask you.
Keeping this in mind, I don't recommend investing much time researching and obsessing over the internet’s popularly suggested interview questions. You may find that you’ve wasted time reviewing questions you’ll never get asked. But, there are a few questions job seekers should always have in their back pockets and be ready to answer, including:
What was missing at your last employer? This is why learning about the company is extremely important. For example, you could miss your mark by stating you left your last employer because you wanted more growth opportunities if the company you’re interviewing with isn’t a growing company.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Tell me about yourself. For this, prepare by developing an elevator pitch.
Why do you want to work for the company?
What do you know about the company?
Make Good First Impressions
A cardinal rule of successful interviewing is to make a good first impression. Create a strong impression by bringing extra copies of your resume, dressing to impress (in a black or grey suit), shaking hands firmly and making good eye contact. Employers often observe to see how job applicants treat staff members as well, so be sure to warmly greet everyone you encounter in the office.
You should always arrive to your interview at least 15-20 minutes, as there’s no excuse ever for arriving late to an interview.
Be Authentic, Upbeat and Confident
Once the interview starts, focus on delivering quality responses that showcase your skills and experience and that also fit with the job and employer. But, it's important to keep your responses focused, short and to the point but at the same token show your personality and confidence.
Always Follow Up with a Thank You Note
Key to closing an interview successfully is asking great questions about the job, hiring manager and the opportunity. But don't get in the habit of asking questions just to be asking them and because it's the rule of thumb when wrapping up interviews. Instead, you should ask questions to show your curiosity about the organization and also to get a better picture of how it would feel working there. As long as it feels organic, feel free to ask questions as they come to mind. Keeping them in the back of your mind until the end might distract you during the interview. After all, the best interviews are less like Q&A sessions and more like authentic conversations.
Finally, after leaving the interview you should always follow up with a note to thank the interviewer for their time. You could either send it via email, or in a handwritten note. But, it must always arrive within 24 hours after the interview.
By incorporating some or all of the above tactics in your interview style, you'll be able to achieve a successful interview every time.
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Now, I want to hear from you. By adopting these strategies, how have these changed your interview style?