So what will make the difference between the one who gets the job and those who don’t? I have literally interviewed hundreds of candidates throughout my years in Human Resources… everything from maintenance technicians to Senior Executives who sit in the ‘C’ suite.
Although some things are unique to the position & level during the interviewing process, other things remain consistent no matter the position or the level. Being knowledgable in your job is definitely key but, that’s just the start.
There are several things you should do to prepare yourself for interview success. These nuggets will help you strategize and prepare for your interview so you can make your best impression.
Clarity. When you know yourself and have taken adequate time to identify your abilities, depth of experience and knowledge, you can speak of those things with a level of clarity.
When you don’t have clear responses to interview questions, your answers are likely to be something off-the-cuff, just to fill the air. You’ll also minimize the pressure involved with ‘thinking on the spot’ scenarios. Being clear about all of the goodies in your career bag brings a level of fluidity to the answers you provide.
Hint: Remember to give examples when appropriate, interviewers love them.
The Company. This may seem like interviewing 101 but, it deserves including. Any company you interview with you should research. One of the biggest turn offs(by far) for me when interviewing a candidate is when he or she asks me a general question about the company. A question about information that was clearly on the first page of the website. Although in these scenarios it is evident that this person had not been to the company site, I would inquire anyway only to be disappointed by the answer.
I made it a point to keep those interviews short; and they never-ever resulted in a hire. If they didn’t have the time and interest to get familiar with the company by looking at the website- I certainly wasn’t interested in having them work for me.
Adequately research both the company & the position, if possible. The more you know about them, the better you can respond to questions.
If you are truly a good fit for the position, you’ll be armed to help them ‘connect-the-dots’ as to why you are the best fit- using the information you learn. Knowing the organizational values and understanding the responsibilities of the position will give you insight on how to provide insightful responses of value to the interview questions.
Get clear about your desired Career Path. Take some time to think about what you intend it to be. Do some research.
Getting clear can keep you from getting tunnel vision:
Okay, so you’ve wanted to work for your dream company for three years, you’ve applied to five openings and finally they call you for an interview. You really really want this job- which is good. If you come across desperate- well, that’s bad. When someone appears needy on an interview- it leaves the interviewer feeling really uncomfortable. Red flags immediately go up. Think of going on a date with someone who is totally desperate. You are so uncomfortable. Yep, same dynamic with interviews. But, when you are clear about this position being just a stepping stone on your career path, you avoid the tunnel vision that desperation brings.
Confidence. When you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, others automatically have confidence in you! I don’t know why it consistently seems to play out like that but, just how it is. So, confidence is a must.
A special note to ladies: I’ve seen some of the brightest women come across as apologetic or mousey during interviews with men.
While you don’t want to be percieved as inflexible and staunch, you also don’t want anyone to think they can walk all over you. Both ends of the spectrum are equally unattractive to a potential supervisor. Don’t minimize yourself or your skills or others will too.
Remember, a supervisor wants to have confidence in the abilities of any employee she manages. Whoever is on her team is a reflection of her. So, when you walk in that interview- have confidence in your abilities, who you are and the value you have to add.
Just be sure to stay away from the last ‘C’. Cocky.
Confidence is a winner but if you come to an interview over-confidently or cocky you may as well not even step out of the revolving entrance door. You’ve pretty much nailed you coffin.
The chances of your resume’ ending in file 13(the trash) are pretty much sealed. Managers know the cocky ones are the problem children. The ones who cannot take direction, carry a negative attitude, lack professionalism or always give excuses for missing deadlines, poor attendance and substandard work. Those are the ones who ultimately become a pain the bum, and no one wants to deal with that, or has the time to deal with it.
And, if the hiring manager is anything like me in the interview process, Cocky’s name would appear on my… ‘Never consider again list’… forever blacklisted.
shannonmcoaching.com your career coach & strategist