#Winning at the Interview

Winning a job in a competitive market is all about mastering the art of selling yourself. Many of us (myself included) feel awkward talking ourselves up, but there are tactful, intelligent ways to do so that can land you your dream job. It all starts with the interview! I’ve compiled a list of some of the best techniques below.

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Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/120541727499229175/

PREPARATION: the more prepared you are going into it, the more confident you will feel during the interview.

  • Before you go in, learn as much as you possibly can about the company and the position you’re applying for. Look at the company website, check out their social media pages, and search online for recent news and press releases. If you know the name of your interviewer, look them up too. Coming off as knowledgeable about the company is a major plus—your interviewer will get a strong sense of your commitment.
  • Practice answering typical interview questions so you’ll be prepared and comfortable when the time comes. Some of these questions include: What is your greatest strength/weakness? How do you handle success/failure? How are you different from the competition? For a more complete list of questions, visit: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/a/interviewquest.htm.

Whatever you do, don’t be this guy!!

Job_Interview

Source: http://firstplacerecruit.ie/blog/tag/interview-tips/

  • Plan out what you’re going to wear ahead of time. Know where you’re headed and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to the interview around fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.
  • Be sure to bring a portfolio stocked with extra copies of your resume, a list of references, and questions to ask the interviewer. Don’t bring a cellphone, coffee, gum, or anything else that could be potentially distracting.

WHEN YOU GET THERE:

  • Greet everyone you come into contact with politely and enthusiastically. Shake hands firmly and maintain eye contact.
  • Remember your body language.
    • When walking or standing, stand tall with your shoulders back and down. You will appear confident, even if you’re actually feeling anxious.
    • When you sit down with your interviewer, try to relax and lean forward. Don’t lean back or slump—you will look too casual and uninterested. Plant both feet firmly on the floor. Pay close attention, maintain eye contact, and be attentive.

DURING THE INTERVIEW:

  • Share your professional vision
    • Your interviewer has already reviewed your resume by the time you get to him/her. Your past experiences earned you the interview (congrats!), but now it’s time to shift from the past to the future. What do you see yourself doing? How do you see yourself doing it? How will the company help you to achieve your goals? Give your interviewer all the juicy details! Really paint him/her a picture of your aspirations.
  • Make a friend
    • An interview only lasts a short amount of time (usually 30 mins to an hour), but it’s crucial to establish a connection with your interviewer during that time. The fact of the matter is, people hire job candidates because they like the idea of having them around. So reach out to your interviewer! Ask them what they find most rewarding about their job. What do they like the most about the company? Do they have any stories to illustrate this? Your interviewer will get the impression that you’re not only interested in the job, but in him/her and the company as a whole. Through this process, you’ll learn more about your interviewer and the dynamics of the company you’re applying to.
  • Avoid cookie-cutter answers
    • Many job applicants will say the same things: “I’m so excited to work here,” and “I’d make a perfect fit.” However, these sorts of superficial answers don’t really tell the interviewer anything about you, nor do they demonstrate your ability to think critically. Try to give answers that prompt your interviewer to think about what you’ve said. Get them engaged and keep them interested. Make the interview a “give-and-take” interaction. Show the interviewer you are aware of both your strengths and your weaknesses. Acknowledging your weaknesses (aka admitting you’re human) is much more convincing than an “I can accomplish any task you give me, no matter what” mentality.
  • Talk yourself up (tastefully!) by providing examples
    • Your interviewer wants to know that you are reliable, trustworthy, and capable of getting the job done. So, show him/her how great you are! instead of simply listing job titles you’ve held previously, tell your interviewer about the projects you’ve worked on/completed within these jobs. How did you contribute to completing important tasks? How did you meet certain impressive goals? Anyone can say, “I’m committed and disciplined,” but providing concrete examples that demonstrate your commitment and discipline will go much further.

POST-INTERVIEW: Be sure to send a follow-up “thank you” email within 24 hours of your interview. Whatever you do, DON’T FORGET. Many employers will be offended that you failed to send them a note. Remember, your letter should be a thank you, but it should also reiterate why you want the job, your qualifications, and what you will contribute to the company if they award you with the position.

For further reading, check out this great Forbes article on how to impress even the toughest of interviewers: http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/24/8-tips-for-acing-a-tough-job-interview/

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Source: https://katandherblog.wordpress.com/tag/family-2/

Other Sources:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20131017012546-22260466-how-to-win-your-next-job-interview

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewsnetworking/ss/job-interview.htm

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/a/interviewquest.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/interviewing-techniques.htm

http://business.time.com/2013/10/09/interview-techniques-for-effective-hiring/

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5 thoughts on “#Winning at the Interview

  1. Hey Lauren,

    These are some really great tips for winning an interview. A lot of the things I have never thought about, such as body language. I never realized that seeming “too casual” could be a bad thing. I will definitely utilize these words of advice for my next interviews.

    When it comes to interviews, the hardest thing for me is trying to come up with questions to ask afterward. I know that in order to seem interested in the position you have to ask your potential employers questions or it will look bad. I just have always had trouble with that step. I would be greatly interested in reading about what you learned about this concept. I never found out the best questions to ask. Is it best to ask questions about the interviewers personal feelings or just about the company? Also, are there any stupid questions that would make you look worse than you would if you did not ask any questions? I think looking into this aspect of discovery would be a good addition to the blog.

    –Myah

    Like

  2. Hey Lauren,

    All of this advice is very helpful for the interview phase I’m sure most of us are entering. One thing I would add to the follow-up is on top of sending a follow up email, a handwritten note is often appreciated by possible future employees. It shows that you put in the extra time to hand write a note on top of the email that I am sure every applicant is sending them. If the interviewer doesn’t give you a clear address etc. ask them for their business card on your way out so you have a meaningful way of contact with them.

    I also like the section about detail in the job. We try to do this on our resume with numbers and accomplished tasks but in the interview is really where you can bring it home. Its important to come with specific examples of what you have done and how they relate to this job, be creative! A leadership position in a club or sorority/ fraternity definitely gives you skills for a job, and likewise with many different things that you’ve probably done throughout college. Its important to show that you can take the skills that you have already learned and bring something to the company.

    One huge thing that I really took away was painting yourself in the future. I had never really thought to prepare myself for this and one interview i was in last month asked me where I saw myself in a few years. Although it seems like an easy question, it`s really not at this point in most of our lives, so I really had to think on my toes. Its something I wish I had been more prepared for in that interview.

    Thanks for all the advice!
    Abby

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  3. Just like Myah, I struggle with thinking of appropriate follow-up questions. I tend to feel pressured and as a result can’t think of anything to ask. I think coming prepared ahead of time with a variety of questions you have in mind would be really helpful.

    Also, in terms of preparing for the interview, I found it helpful to write out major takeaways from all my previous jobs, as to avoid simply repeating what is already on my resume. Along with this, I also suggest thinking of your three greatest strengths and then thinking of how your previous experience exemplified those strengths.

    -Sarah

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  4. Hey Lauren,

    I think the tips you offered are very helpful especially because interviews are crucial for college students looking for an internship or job. I never realized that sitting a certain way during the interview was so important. What I struggle the most with is follow up questions though. I feel that asking the interviewer what they enjoy most about his/her job is so generic. I also think it would be interesting to see if you should ask different follow up questions based on the interviewer’s position.

    -Madison

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  5. Hey Lauren,

    When it comes to interviews, I always feel very confident going into them. Talking and interacting with people is just my forte. I always look at interviews as being just another conversation, but when it came to continuing the conversation after the interviewer asked me all their questions, I felt like there was always an awkward pause. Your article has definitely shined light on what I need to work on when it comes to sealing the deal in an interview. Here is a link of a blog post that I found for conversations after the interview: http://imgur.com/gallery/yAO0I

    Like

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