Ever really want to know how to nail a job interview?
As someone who's been involved in the hiring process for several small and large companies for over 20 years, I have developed some key recommendations that I share with candidates. When you get that call, how do you beat out all the other candidates to get a nod?
Now is your time to shine. Here are three key points:
You will be given a time block for every interview (e.g., from 3:00 to 4:00). When you consider the time involved, you can see why you need to focus on being concise with your answers. Being prepared is the best way to ensure you are concise during the interview.
Typically, you will be asked about 10 questions. If you have an hour, that should pan out to 10 minutes for introductions and 10 minutes for your questions and closure, leaving 40 minutes for interview questions. With an average of 10 interview questions, that would be about four minutes per question -- one minute to ask it and three minutes to answer it.
It is important you recognize the value of the interviewer's time and realize they still have a job to do and a schedule to maintain beyond your interview. So whether this is a 30-minute pre-screening with the recruiter or an hour with the hiring manager, be mindful to not take up more of their time than they have already set aside for you.
You should never go into any interview "winging it." Showing up prepared will impress your interviewer and can set you apart from the competition.
Typically, an interviewer will ask you three types of questions:
1. Fit: "Fit" questions are used to see how well you might fit in with the team and the company culture. These are the questions most candidates dread, like, “What’s your greatest weakness?” or, “What’s your favorite work environment?”
2. Experience: "Experience" questions are used by hiring managers to fully understand your knowledge, skills and experience.
3. Situational: These questions normally make up the bulk of your interview. They start with something like, “Tell me about a time when…”
Consider your research as highlighted in my last article: Reach out to your connections within the company and determine the major challenges the hiring manager is experiencing. Then, think about your knowledge, skills, and experiences, and how they might support overcoming those challenges.
Consider your past and establish five solid experiences related to these organizational challenges. Fully outline these experiences. Write down what the situation was, list the techniques and tools you used to solve the issues, then quantify the results. Completely document and memorize the details of each of these five experiences. Gather any examples that demonstrate your efforts in the above experiences and put them in a binder that you can take with you to your interview.
When asked interview questions, mentally review your five experiences, and share the most appropriate answer to each question. Keep your experience specific and your answer concise. Use your binder to share the techniques, tools, or results of your experience.
Also, be prepared to close strong. Make sure you have at least one or two questions about the company handy. I always recommend that candidates close with a statement of why they feel they are the right person for the job and why they want the job.
Dress to impress by wearing professional, business attire.
Be sure to shake hands and thank your interviewer(s) for their time both at the beginning and end of your interview.
Make sure that you follow up, if possible, with the recruiter and those who interviewed you. Thank them again and reiterate your interest in the job. Mentioning specific topics in your follow-up that you enjoyed discussing with them can help you stand out as well.
Most candidates who are brought in for an interview are not prepared. If you follow these three points — being concise, prepared, and professional — you will out-shine any other candidate for the job you are vying for.