You worked hard on your resume. You networked relentlessly and put significant time and effort into your job search. And now you’ve landed an interview for an opportunity you’re really excited about. Take a minute to celebrate, that’s no easy feat in today’s job market. After you’re done celebrating the moment, it’s time to think about the next step—the interview. Maybe you only recently started your job search so this will be the first interview you’ve had in quite some time. Or perhaps you have been interviewing steadily but just haven’t found the right fit yet. Whether you are an interview rookie or a veteran there are some basic fundamental things that can help you shine in your next interview. Take a look at these 6 winning interview strategies and make sure you use them when the big day finally arrives.
1. Research like a boss:
Nothing will frustrate a recruiter or hiring manager more than a candidate who obviously did not do any homework about the company and the position they are interviewing for. If you have an internet connection, you have no excuse for not being prepared. And even if you don’t have an internet connection, you can find one at every public library. Do some research; get to know the company, industry and key competitors; develop an understanding of the position you are interviewing for and be prepared to comment on how your skills and experience make you the candidate of choice.
2. Be honest about what you can really do:
Being less than honest about your skills is definitely shooting yourself in the foot. It should be obvious that telling a potential employer that you can design mobile apps when you really can’t is counter-productive. But you would be surprised how frequently people list skills on their resumes that they don’t actually have! Don’t be that person. At some point during the interview process, you will be speaking with someone who knows enough to see right through you. And it will probably take them less than 5 minutes to discover the truth. This is not only awkward, it’s also the end of your interview process and it’s unlikely that the employer will consider you for a different opportunity in the future.
3. Show that you want to be there:
The energy you convey about your interest and enthusiasm is critical. If you act like someone who just woke up from a nap chances are that enthusiasm will not come across to the recruiting or hiring manager. Be awake, be alert and be sharp. Take notes, ask questions, smile and show a little excitement. This is not the time to be shy or reserved, it’s the time to shine. So bring your personality and make the most of it.
4. Be confident, but not superhuman:
Over-confidence and arrogance will turn most recruiters and hiring managers off almost immediately. It’s okay to think you’re awesome. A healthy level of confidence is a very positive thing. But in the end, the hiring decision is not just about how awesome you are, it’s also about cultural fit and how well you will work with others. So don’t over-do it. Be confident and assertive about your skills and experience but bring a good measure of humility with you as well.
5. Be easy to hire:
Always remember that the interview process is the beginning of a potential relationship. Approaching the start of any relationship with a level of flexibility instead of a list of demands is likely to produce better results. For example, if you want the ability to telecommute and work from home on occasion, let the discussion progress until you know enough about the opportunity to understand whether or not that is reasonable given your potential role and responsibilities. If you do decide to introduce your desire to telecommute, phrase it as a question (“Would you be open to me telecommuting?”) and be prepared to provide some insight into how that will enhance your ability to do the job. Remember, in any relationship it’s all about balancing the give and take and looking for the win-win solution that benefits both you and your potential employer.
6. Be a closer:
There’s nothing more appealing than a candidate that wants the job more than the next person. Often, desire and initiative can outshine another candidate’s functional skills. Skills can be learned, but enthusiasm and tenacity are part of a candidate’s personality. If the interview has gone well, you truly want the position and feel you have a good shot at it, ask the question, “Is there any reason why I would not be the top candidate for this position?” The question shows your interest and may give you a chance to overcome any objections that the hiring manager has.
So there you are. If you can incorporate the strategies above into your next interview you have given yourself a much better chance of making it through the process and landing that dream job. Best of luck!