Interviewing isn’t something that everyone is good at. Use these tips to get a jump on the competition.
Spend time researching the company and the position they are looking to fill before the actual interview. Familiarize yourself with the company’s history, mission, services, and the job position. Also, background information will help you to better relate to the person you are interviewing with, so research him on social media sites like Linked In. If you take a little time to do your homework, you will better align yourself with the job you are interviewing for.
Utilize your resume
Although you spent many hours working on your resume, bring it with you for reference and make sure you know everything on it. Be prepared to fully explain all of the skills you possess, as well as any gaps in your work experience. The more fluent you are about your employment history, the easier it is to tie in your experience to the open position.
Dress the part
Dress to create a memorable impression. Research the company dress code and dress the part. When in doubt, it’s always better to be dressed up than dressed down.
Answer interview questions like you’re telling a story
Story telling is a powerful way to connect with people. Why not use it in an interview? Interviewers will ask a series of open ended questions. You may think that the experience and skill outlined in your resume speaks for itself, but if you want to stand out from other applicants, you can relay your own unique perspective by telling the interviewer something about yourself.
About five resumes in, how you appear on paper starts to look pretty similar to others who sat in the hot seat before you. You may have the same education, worked on the same types of projects and have the same amount of experience. How you answer questions, just may win you the interview.
It all comes down to stories—stories that are relatable to the job, stories that are similar to something the interviewer may have once experienced, stories in which you are the hero and are a perfect fit for the company culture.
Be detailed oriented, make sure your story has a beginning, middle and end, and focus in on some key points:
- How you motivate yourself
- How you motivate others
- What kind of passion you have for the job
- How you make decisions
- How you applied specific skills
Prepare your own questions to ask.
So that your interview doesn’t come to a close with an awkward silence and you don’t come off looking unprepared, end the conversation with some of your own questions.
Some good examples would be:
- What does a day on the job look like?
- What type of training do you provide?
- What is the biggest challenge I might face?
- How do you like working here?
- Are there opportunities for growth?
Do NOT talk about sick time, vacation time, other jobs you are applying for.
If you do not have any questions, the best way to segue into goodbye would be to say, “Well it looks like you’ve answered all of my questions.”
Just like anything else, good interviewing takes practice, so after each encounter, be honest in evaluating yourself so you can get better at it each time.
Build a structured interview
Determine which are the must-have skills and values you want to see in a candidate. Use those to create questions that you will ask during the interview. Doing so will ensure that you evaluate all applicants based on the same criteria.
Be flexible with scheduling
It’s okay to ask a candidate for their availability first, then work around it. This could mean being available during lunch, or outside normal business hours. Your candidates are just as busy as you are—if not more, because they’re juggling their current job with the job seeking process. Make it easy for them to schedule a time to chat so you don’t pass up any quality applicants.
Be on time and prepared
Schedule time before each interview to review the applicant’s resume, the job description, and the questions you would like to ask. Each candidate will feel valued and will be left with a positive impression of your organization if you can tailor the conversation, having just brushed up on their credentials.
Learn your candidate's motivations early
Learn your candidate’s motivations for considering a new role as quickly as possible. You can then use this information throughout the rest of the process to sell them on your opportunity. You may even find that their motivations align with your core values, giving you a better idea of culture-fit.
Give candidates the opportunity to ask questions
Applicants are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them, and it’s in your best interest to ensure a mutual fit. Allow the candidate to ask their own questions throughout the interview and leave time at the end of the call for anything else they would like to ask. You may even glean some additional information about them from what they ask, so pay attention to the things they’re interested in speaking about.