Interviews are just about as intimidating as first dates. You don’t know much about the person you’re meeting, and you’re expected to impress them in essentially thirty minutes or less. Truthfully, you should impress your interviewer in the first 30 seconds as that is the proven window of time that someone makes an opinion about you. That can be a lot of pressure!
However, if you are prepared and take your interviewing practice a little further, you will stand out amongst all other candidates. Use these tips and guidelines to ensure you get your next job:
Don’t just research, dig deep
It’s relatively common knowledge that you should know about the position and the company you’re applying for before you send your resume. You need to know if you’ll actually be a good fit, and what the company is looking for in terms of their candidates. But, if you want to stand out above the rest, read into the company culture, the levels and structure of organization, the decision makers and supervisor, and even personal information about the interviewer. This will show you genuinely care about the company as a whole.
Tell stories, not facts
Interviewers can read about your past job positions and accomplishments. What they can’t know is how you’ve handled bad situations in past jobs or what previous employers most liked about you working for them. Tell stories about your experience, and your interviewer will be able to envision you as a living part of their organization.
Emphasize potential rather than experience
Experience means a lot to employers, but it isn’t as important as genuine competence. Employers will hire someone less experienced if they believe they will grow in the position more than someone who is less likely to change their ways. Also, they may wonder why you’re not at your previous company if you were that great at your job. You want to express why you’re looking for the next opportunity and how you’ll be even better here than you were at last job.
Prepare for hard questions
You already know the weaknesses or hardships in your employment history - be prepared to talk about them. You don’t have to give too much detail, but answer with confidence. You may also be challenged with questions like, “What’s your biggest personal weakness?” or “What salary are you looking for?” These are tricky questions, aimed at eliminating candidates, so be prepared with honest but intelligent answers.
Compliment your interviewer’s personality
Though interviewers are supposed to objectively do their job, they are people too. They will choose someone they like over someone with the best qualifications, because personality can make as much of a difference as actual job skill. If you see that your interviewer is dominating the conversation or is incredibly friendly and personal, compliment that the best way you can.
Make connections to others at the company
One of the best ways to make yourself seem like “part of the team” is to already know a few people at the company. You may want to connect with them on LinkedIn. It will help you seem like the favorite among other members of the staff, which can also lead to better chances of landing that position.
Make your follow-up unique
After the interview, don’t just send a follow-up email or phone call. Send your interviewer a handwritten note, thanking them for having you at the office and for the opportunity to meet those at the company. Also, it doesn’t hurt to also offer something of value, like plans for the next steps to hiring or a portfolio for them to look at while they make their decision.