You’ve done it. Your extensive networking and outstanding résumé have helped you land an interview with a company you’re eager to join. Now you need to use this crucial step in the hiring process to sell yourself as the the best choice for the job.
If only it were that easy. Instead, a job interview can feel more like speed-dating—you’re given a few minutes, under awkward circumstances, to woo a stranger into a relationship.
To make sure you make a winning impression, follow these interview tips:
Know why you want the job. Likeminded people work well tougher. If you don’t like the company, than you’re just applying for a job and they’ll know it. Be selective; pursue roles that you’d be proud to fill.
Make a strong case. Your goal is to convince the hiring manager that you’re keenly engaged and ready to immediately start making their jobs easier. That’s why you thoroughly researched them. Not so you could rattle off a laundry list of their accomplishments. But so you could articulate how your talents and passions complement their culture and business strategy.
Stick to business. Know how the company you’re interviewing with is doing financially—e.g., how much they earned (or lost) last quarter, what their stock is currently worth and what acquisitions are in the pipeline. And be able to discuss the finances of the companies listed in your work history. Many interviewers will ask how much XYZ company earned or what size budgets you managed, etc. A fact-based response shows business acumen.
Prepare for tough questions. Have a handful of detailed, career-success stories memorized so it’s easy to tweak them for the questions you’re asked. That way you don’t have to compose an answer on the fly. It’s OK to use one of your success scenarios more than once in an interview. Reintroduce it by saying something such as “In the project I just mentioned, I automated enterprise data sharing by implementing a . . . ”
Finish on the right note. End the interview with a closing statement that conveys how confident you are that you will be offered the job. HR research indicates that the number one reason why a manager doesn’t select a candidate is because they weren’t convinced the candidate wanted the job. So, even if you’re unsure about salary, benefits and perks, make it very clear that you do want the job and that you’re the perfect fit for it. Get the offer . . . then negotiate the details.
Interviews don’t have to be joyless. If possible and appropriate, inject a little humor. But avoid snarky comments, which could deem you as flip or insincere. You want the interviewer to perceive you as someone who’d be a great addition to their team.
Before you act . . .
Shoot a video selfie answering a variety of interview questions about your experience, strengths and goals. Draw on the success stories you’ve crafted in your responses. Show the video to someone who will be candid with their feedback and suggestions. The better rehearsed you are, the easier it will be to improvise.