Nailing the Interview
One of my favorite things to say to interns and job seekers is that your resume gets you an interview, but your personality and passion gets you the job. So, let’s talk about some tips to make the most of your interview time.
Research, Research, Research!
Your first step after landing an interview is the research the company and the people you’ll be interviewing with. Make sure to know about the mission, vision, and values of the company, recent projects, and who on the team you’d be working with. In addition to researching the company, research common interview questions for the position you’re applying for and practice your answers. It’s always better to go into an interview with extra preparation than just winging it.
Practice Your Elevator Speech
Inevitably you’ll be asked to “tell us about yourself.” Make sure you have a polished speech down pat that is a careful blend of both your personal and professional self. There’s no better place in your interview to be able to demonstrate why you’re passionate about your career, so make that be known!
Be Ready and On Time
This should go without saying, but leave early, show up early and have copies of your resume in hand for the interviewers, just in case. Take it a step further by keeping your interview mindset as soon as you step a foot out of the door. Remain professional during your commute to the interview location, respectful as you enter the building and everything else in-between. You never know who you may come across – they just may be in your interview!
Be Ready with Examples
Your research for common interview questions will allow you to reflect on all of your experiences (not just the ones on your resume). You could be asked just about anything that’s legal in your interview, so be prepared to give great quality responses and examples to highlight all of the attributes you possess as an employee. And please, don’t respond to “why are you interested in this position?” with anything along the lines of “ I need a job.”
But, it’s possible you won’t always have the perfect answer top-of-mind, so…
Ask for a Moment
If you’re asked a great question and it’s left you stumped, that’s okay! Just let them know it’s a great question and that you need a moment to gather your thoughts. It’s better to take a moment and provide a strong, well-rounded response than to answer off-the-cuff with a weaker example.
Reference the Job Description
Whether you pull keywords, or demonstrate how you’ve already achieved some of the duties and responsibilities in this new role in your previous experience, referencing the job description can make you seem more aligned with the role you’re interviewing for.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
At the conclusion of the interview, you’ll most likely be asked if you have any questions for the team. Always have questions ready! My personal favorite is, “What qualities are you looking for in an ideal candidate?” which is followed up with explaining how you possess those qualities (only if you do, of course).
Say Thank You
Sending “Thank You” notes or emails have become a lost art, but it can really add to your overall likeability as a candidate. Though it’s not usually a decision-maker, if you’re one-to-one with another candidate, it could put you ahead.
Things to keep in mind:
- Your interview is a two-way street.
- You want to make a strong first impression, but so do they.
- If you don’t think the company, team, or position is a fit for your career goals, you don’t have to accept an offer.
- When you’re asked a question, you also have the power to provide a direct answer and nothing more.
There’s a lot of ways to prepare for your interview. What’s most important is to be confident in being you. Now, go nail that interview!