The job interview is not about you!
Let me say that again … the interview is not about you. Do not read any further until you fully understand this point.
The Hiring Manager will not care that:
- This is your dream job.
- This job will look great on your resume.
- This job will mean a much shorter commute for you.
- This job has better benefits for you.
- This job pays more than you are making now
- This job will help you afford your own place.
The Hiring manager is looking for someone because they have a problem. Your job is to show the hiring manager that you can solve their problem.
But first, you need to figure out what their problem is. (Liz Ryan of Forbes calls this their “Pain Point.”) Once you know why they are hiring, you can begin to build your brand around that need.
They have given you most of the clues you’ll need in the job posting itself. Study each of the bullet points and write down everything you have done that relates to that area of the job posting. Your experience in each of these areas is the answer to how you will solve the employer’s problem.
So, you have the job posting and you’ve done your research about the company. You just got the call for a face-to-face interview and you can’t wait.
Do not be afraid of the interview. It is really just a conversation between two people. Remember, you need to be interviewing them, too. As you interact with employees, observe what you see. If you do have butterflies before the interview, make them fly in formation.
Entire books have been written about interviewing. On my blog, you will find many posts on different aspects of the interview.
Even though there is a lot to think about, in the end, you will Ace the Interview if you remember to:
- Be enthusiastic when speaking to HR managers. In a recent survey, 48% of HR Managers and Recruiters said applicants were not enthusiastic or personable. They came across as negative during phone conversations and during interviews. What great news for you! You can put yourself ahead of almost ½ of the applicants just by smiling and being enthusiastic.
- Remember that the interview starts when you leave the house and doesn’t stop until you get back home. There are all sorts of examples (and even urban legends) of people driving into the parking lot of the place they are interviewing, and they cut off the person who ends up interviewing them. Allow enough time, but do not arrive more than 10 minutes early.
- Remember, everyone could be a decision maker. From the employees you meet in the lobby, to the administrative assistant, everyone will have an opinion about your interactions with them. DO NOT RUIN an otherwise great interview. Treat everyone you meet with respect and professionalism.
- NEVER EVER BAD MOUTH A FORMER EMPLOYER – I cannot count the number of times I have interviewed someone who, at some point in the interview, makes it a point to tell me how terrible their former boss was. Now, this may be true, BUT, in every instance, I was left wondering how long it would take them to start bad-mouthing me if I hired them? Even if you had issues with a former boss, this is not the time to reflect on that.
- Do your research – Know more about the company than the person interviewing you. Even if you do not get to share all your new-found knowledge about the company, your level of confidence will be extremely high when you know this information.
- Use Your STAR’s. You can be memorable when you answer a question by giving: a situation, the actions you took, and the result. By knowing why the company is hiring for this position and the bullet points of what they are looking for from the job description, you can have your stories ready to go. These examples will show how you have solved problems in the past and will get the Hiring Manager thinking about how you will solve their problems in the future.
- Be ready when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” All my clients go into an interview with at least two questions written down. They carry a blue binder (it can be the 49-cent kind from Staples) paper and a pen. At the beginning of the interview, I instruct them to ask permission to take notes. Then, my clients jot down notes and at least two more questions based on the interview. This gives them a minimum of four questions that will allow them to show their value and how they could be a part of the team. And none of these questions should be about time off, or benefits, or gym memberships. Your focus once again is on showing how you can solve the company’s problems and how you can be a part of the team.
- Ask permission to follow-up. The interview is ending, and you think it went well. To be clear of the next step, ASK. When will you be deciding? When would be the best time to follow up with you? How should I follow-up? Ask permission and then do what they say.
While every interview is different, there are still many similarities between them.
Despite the well-known fact that the purpose of a resume is to land the interview and the interview’s purpose is to land the job, many people focus almost entirely on their resume. Then when the call comes for a face-to-face interview, they wing it.
Understand and apply the basics I have outlined above. This gives you a major advantage over those who go into the interview and “wing it.” Apply these and you will hear those wonderful words “you are hired” sooner.
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