It takes a lot of hard work, and determination to get called for an interview. Once you get the call you start thinking, how do you ace the interview race, how do you stand apart from other candidates, and how do you create maximum impact.
This takes focus and preparation. By the end of this blog, you will have some great interview tips and tricks to ensure you shine during the interview process. So, here we begin.
1. The Importance of the First Impression
Dress appropriately for the position you are interviewing for. When you arrive for an interview, before entering the building throw away your gum, put your phone away and make sure it is on silent, finish your drink and food. Step inside the building with your best foot forward, be courteous, make eye contact, shake hands with a firm handshake and a confident smile.
Be not only physically present but mentally present too.
2. The Power of Your Words
Your interview should be a free flowing conversation. Nervous interviewees might end up rambling and using a lot of words to impress the interviewer. This happens when someone has not properly and adequately prepared for the interview. Take careful consideration of the questions the interviewer is asking and aim to answer their questions in a clear and concise manner without unnecessary detail. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of preparation. You can’t change the experience you have but you can present it in an intentional and thoughtful way if you prepare.
3. Demonstrate you have learned from your weaknesses
Many times, you will be asked the question “what are your weakness?” Candidates generally are aloof about how to go about answering this question. First of all, don't unintentionally tell a weakness that would automatically prove you less competent for the role. Begin with telling a story giving an example of a weakness or area you would like to improve. Clearly explain what you learned from that situation, how you improved your skills and abilities thus reducing the weakness. A good example is:
“I was unorganized and missed a few deadlines when I first started my role. I started using a calendar and would put in deliverables with due dates so that I did not miss the deadline. I would block off specific time to enable me to complete the tasks required by the due date.”
Through answering this question, the interviewer hear about the incident, how you have dealt with it, and what you learned from it.
4. Leverage your previous work experience
Even if you don’t have all the experience the job requires, leverage your experience and the transferrable skills you have. The role might be different but skills like time management, organization and planning are transferrable skills that are important in many roles and highly valued by employers. Communication skills are also pertinent to many roles and can be demonstrated though past work experience even if it is in a different field than the role you are being interviewed for. It is important when you state the skills you have to back them up with actual experience of a time that you have used them successfully.
Be sure to speak about previous employers in a positive way, even if you did not have a really good experience. Recognize what you learned from the company in a positive way rather than speaking about them in a negative way. Do not go down a path of bashing and complaining a previous employer as ultimately this will only make you look bad.
5. Stay energetic and passionate
In any interview, you need to demonstrate passion and interest in the role and the company. Don’t be falsely enthusiastic, you should be genuine and realistic. The energy that you express in an interview will be felt and perceived by the interviewer. If you answer questions with expression and passion, interviewers may attribute that as desire to get the job. If you are monotone and don’t show excitement through any of the interview questions employers may conclude you don’t really care about getting the job, you are not that interested in it.
6. Ask questions that matter
Ask relevant questions about the company, your manager, the work environment, the role, future growth plans, etc. Don’t just ask questions about “what’s in it for me”. The questions related to sick pay, salary, bonus and holidays are too common and almost everyone asks them. Although they may matter to you, those questions don’t show your interest in the company. If you want to stand out and truly want to make it to the next stage of the interview process, ask questions that show you have invested some time and effort into learning about the company, their vision, etc.
You and the company both need to evaluate “fit” to make sure you are as much a match for them as they are for you. This helps to ensure a strong and long lasting employment relationship.
To wrap it up, preparation is key. Keeping in mind these interview tips, along with practice over time are certainly going to help you improve your interview skills. In no time at all you will be acing the interview and moving to the next step in the hiring process!