You’ve built a strong, professional resume . You’ve gone through yourInterview Preparation . Now it’s time to land that job! Here are ten helpful tips that will help you outshine your competition and leave a terrific impression with your interviewer.
- Don't prepare answers, prepare stories.
There are hundreds of questions an interviewer may ask. You can't prepare for all of them, but you can create stories about your accomplishments that can be used for a wide variety of situations. Think P.A.R. (Problems, Actions and Results). Think of the problem you faced in a past or current position, the actions you took to fix that problem, and the results those actions yielded. Ten stories are much easier to prepare than answers to 100 questions.
- Take a moment.
It’s okay to pause and assess the question. It’s much better to take a breath, think for ten seconds, and come up with a good answer - rather than diving in without a coherent strategy of what you are trying to achieve.
- Know how to navigate your resume.
When someone says "walk me through your resume", it doesn't mean you should start with childhood and go through every single internship, job, education experience, and award until you get to the present. Think strategically about what to highlight and what to brush over. It's all about being relevant. You are applying for a specific job. Focus on the requirements for the position, and what parts of your experience set you up to do that position well.
- Ask Questions.
Make sure to ask at least two questions during your interview. It’s important not to save your questions for the end because you can build on the information they give you throughout the rest of the interview. Don’t ask things that you can look up online or could have found out easily on your own. You want to demonstrate that you are passionate about this industry and take this position seriously. Stay away from “HR Questions.” This is not a good time to ask how much vacation time you might be getting.
- Keep it conversational.
Try and keep the tone of the interview conversational. Conversations are fun, while interviews are well…not. Find something in common with your interviewer, ask them questions about themselves – make this a back and forth exchange rather than a formal Q&A.
- Never badmouth past employers.
No matter how nasty your previous work experience was, you’ll be the one who ends up looking bad if you speak ill of your past employer. Try and focus on what you learned from that experience, what you improved upon and what you hope to focus on with this new position.
- Not all questions are equal.
Be strategic about how long you spend on each question. Spend time on the ones that move your candidacy forward and have quick, succinct answers to those that don’t allow you to speak to what you can bring to this position.
- Write down four things.
Before you have your interview, write down on a note pad the four things that make you the best candidate for this specific position. Think about the other people who may be applying to this position and write down what differentiates you – things that make you stand out. Ask yourself what are the four things you really want your interviewer to take away from having met you. Take the notepad into the interview. If the interviewer forgets everything about your candidacy except these four things, you will have done a good job and given yourself the best chance for success.
- Show enthusiasm.
Stay confident, focused, positive and energetic in the interview. Remember, the interviewer could potentially be doing dozens of interviews and there’s nothing worse than showing no enthusiasm. Don’t get too carried away, just be yourself, be confident in your experience and most importantly, be courteous.
- Print out copies of your resume.
We may be living in a digital age, but it never hurts to have a few paper copies of your resume on hand. You’ll look prepared and thoughtful.