Here are the basics to a successful interview! These tips may sound really simple but trust me, they are all very important. I have seen, first hand, many candidates lose a job opportunity due to failing at just one of the following tips:
Be early but not too early for the interview, always be positive, show how you can add value by providing examples with statistics, be memorable, express professional body language and speech, remember that everyone is interviewing you, prepare for the interview, relax and be yourself, do not ramble and never say you’re a perfectionist.
So, now I will go into detail on each tip.
- Be early but not too early. Too early means that you’re desperate for a job or you get lost easily and are playing it safe. What you need to do is show up 30 minutes early to the location/building but do not walk in the building until 15 minutes before the interview start time.
- Be positive! No one wants to hire a debby downer. Smile whenever you can, never speak poorly about yourself, anybody or a company. All of us have been through something, didn’t like someone, but an interview is not a place to vent about these things.
- Show how you add value by providing examples with numbers. This is key to a successful interview. Prove how you can add value! For example, you’re an HR professional and you claim that you improved the onboarding process in your last role.. ok??. You can back this up by saying, “When I joined the HR team at ‘x’ company, I automated our onboarding system through a software that they already used. This automation decreased the time it took to onboard a candidate from 6 days to 1 while also decreasing errors by 50%.” Always try to backup your statements or examples with data! This shows that you make intelligent decisions with purpose, can make positive change, and are analytical.
- Be memorable! Luckily, there are multiple ways to do this. Do you like to make presentations, graphs or charts? Do you have referrals on hand, certifications, awards, or are you really outgoing? If you said yes to any of those things, then show it in your interview. Print out your referrals, certs, a cover letter, etc and bring it with you to an interview.
- Body language and speech. This is easy… speak clearly, don’t ramble EVER, do NOT cuss, always look people in the eye, do not interrupt them, firm handshake, do not spin, twist or slouch in the chair, no elbows on the table, no tapping or clicking a pen, and be real! Be yourself! If you’re doing a phone interview, please DO NOT take the call outside. Hearing birds chirp and trucks drive by are very distracting.
- Remember, everyone is interviewing you. Be polite to the janitor, the receptionist, everyone because they all talk! In one of my positions, we would not give an offer to anyone who disrespected our front desk associate, no matter what. These people can also help your case! If you’re nice to the front desk person, they’re going to go to the hiring manager and be like “who was that lovely person you just met with?!”
- Be prepared!!! We have another blog post that goes into how to prepare for an interview. In short, print your resume the day before, do your research on the company, hiring manager(s), and job responsibilities.
- The obvious: dress professionally. Google is your best friend for tips but we believe you can never be over-dressed for an interview. It’s hard to judge someone for dressing too nice, right?
- RELAX! So simple yet so important. If they were looking to hire a robot, they would. Remind them that you’re human by showing your personality. The best time to show this is in the very beginning and/or the very end. Talk personal in the beginning, see what they like, or if you know what they like because you’ve watched my videos and you’ve done your research on them, make that connection. Sports, shoes, Coronavirus, college, you name it! At the end, ask them some questions. Ask them to tell you about themselves, what’s their background, their goals, etc. The key take away here is to NOT ask personal questions like, do you have kids, where do you live, do you get a long with your boss, are you married, etc. Ask questions like, I saw that you went to college in Ohio, how did you end up in Florida? Does the team do anything for team building or bonding? Maybe he says they go bowling.. “Oh I love bowling! I am really good. I used to be on the bowling club team in college….” You get it. Do not ask personal questions if the hiring manager asks you if you have questions about the role. Personal questions are meant before the interview starts and/or when the interview is over.
- Don’t Ramble! This is where practice is vital for interviews! People usually ramble when they are lying, nervous, or don’t know the answer… If you don’t know the answer, do not be scared to say, “can you please rephrase the question” or “I am not sure I understand what you’re asking.” Or, if you really don’t know what the heck they are talking about say, “I’m sorry, I do not know the answer to that question.” When you’re practicing for the interview, record yourself answering basic interview questions and time yourself. You never ever want to speak too long. If you think you may have answered a question to quickly simply say, “did that answer your question or would you like me to elaborate?” Ugh I love when people say that.
- Do NOT say you’re a perfectionist. No matter what. Just don’t.
Thanks for reading!