A great cover letter, recommendation, or resume might get you in the door for your dream job, but it’s the interview that will keep you there. A prospective employer wants to know that you are not only qualified but that you’re a great candidate and a good fit for the company.
These essential tips will help you hone your interviewing skills, preparing you to answer common interview questions, so you can be sure to show exactly how and why you’re perfect for the job.
Know the company
Chances are you’ve already learned some basic facts about the company with which you’re interviewing through the application process. Researching companies of interest is a key part of every successful job search. Now you need to develop those facts into a knowledge base that will prepare you to work there. Learn all you can about the company’s position in the industry and where it fits in with current trends. Read the job description carefully and research the position you hope to fill.
Is it a new position? What unique qualifications do you bring? What will be expected of you? If it’s an existing position, try to find out why the person currently in the role is leaving. Finally, learn about the interviewer, the hiring manager, and the person who will be your boss.
The more you know, the easier it will be for you to prepare stories from your own experience that will illustrate why you are right for the job.
Know your value
Interviewing is about showing what makes you stand out above all the other applicants for a position. Take the time to prepare good answers to commonly asked job interview questions. Go beyond canned answers to really show the value you bring to the company.
Prepare stories from your past experience that show why hiring you would be a good investment. When preparing these stories, think about times when you saved your employer money, solved a serious problem, or helped the company innovate. These stories are the basis of what is known as the STAR method of interviewing. Break down each of your success stories in this format:
S. Situation – set the scene by describing the situation or challenge
T. Task – the responsibilities you held in the situation; your role
A. Action – what you did in relation to the situation or challenge
R. Result – the result/outcome of your actions; how your work benefited your employer
So much emphasis is placed on giving the right answer in an interview, that sometimes we miss the question. Listen to the interviewer with fresh ears, as if you know nothing about the company. This will help you appear empathetic and show that you actually care about what the person has to say.
It also gives you the opportunity to ask clarifying questions along the way and really engage in a conversation about the position.
If you have a chance to practice interviewing, be sure to practice listening at the same time.
The image you project in an interview is sure to stick in the interviewer’s mind when making a decision, so make you dress professionally, be polite, and show your mastery of the language of business. It is important to project professionalism both before and after the interview.
Long before interviewing and engaging in the hiring process you need to take the time to consider how your brand might appear to others. Do any of your social networking sites give a negative impression?
If so, delete comments, remove photos, update privacy settings, and whatever else might need to be done to present the image you want employers to see. After the interview, be sure to send a thank-you note highlighting your unique qualifications.
It’s often said that people don’t hire resumes; they hire people. The interview is your opportunity to let companies know who you are and why you’re right for them. You’ve worked hard to create an image, but if that image isn’t true to who you are, that will be painfully obvious in an interview. Every company culture and work environment is different, and you want to show you are a good fit to join the company’s team. But, this fit should be authentic. If you have faked it and get hired into a culture that isn’t a good fit for you, you will be unhappy.
With careful preparation, including research, good listening skills, and a professional attitude, you will be sure to leave a positive impression on interviewers, and stand out among your competition as the best fit for the job.
Hone your interview skills with these essential job interview tips to make sure you show your employer exactly why you are perfect for the job.