With so many applicants on the job market today, it is more important than ever to stand out in job interviews. In today’s post, let’s look at some proven interviewing strategies for becoming the candidate that companies are eager to hire.
Present Yourself Strongly and Professionally in Your Interview
Of course, you will dress like a professional for your job interview. Here are some additional ways to project a professional image:
- Walk into the room confidently, smile, look your interviewer in the eyes, shake hands, introduce yourself, and say “pleased to meet you.”
- Carry your resume and supporting materials in your hand when you enter the room, so you don’t have to hunt for them.
- Display good posture and strong body language, without becoming stiff. One good option? If you are sitting in a chair with armrests, let your arms rest comfortably on them and sit straight, with both your feet on the floor.
- As the interview is coming to a finish, thank your interviewer, shake hands again, and make a confident exit from the room while maintaining eye contact.
Find One or Two Comfortable Ways to Connect with Your Interviewer on a Personal Level
It is one of the most effective ways to stand out from other applicants and be remembered. Some options:
- Make a positive connecting statement like, “You must be excited about working here! I am excited to be here.”
- If your interviewer has personal items on display, use them as a point of connection. If there is a picture of a children’s sports team, for example, you can ask about that. Is there a college diploma? If there is a shelf of books, comment on one of them. Even a song that is playing in the background or a plant on the windowsill can serve as a point of personal connection.
- Without prying, ask some questions to determine whether you and your interviewer have something in common. Do you live in the same town, root for the same sports team, or even ride the same transit line?
Study the Hiring Company before Your Interview
Your ability to show that you know about the company can go a long way toward making you a preferred applicant of choice. If the company has been in the news recently, you will want to understand why and be ready to talk about it in an informed way. Invest a little time visiting the company’s website and learn the following:
- The company’s history.
- What the company makes and does.
- Where the company and its facilities are located.
- The company’s mission, values, and charitable activities.
- Who the company leaders are and what they are like.
Ask Questions – Don’t Just Answer Them
Doing so is an effective way to show your interest in the job, showcase your smarts, and take control of the flow of conversation. Here are some strong questions to ask:
- “What is the most important trait you are looking for in the people who do this job?”
- “What is a typical day like on the job?”
- “Is this a new position?”
- “How many other employees are currently performing this job; Are you staffing up?”
- “Who would my supervisor and colleagues be?”
- “Do you offer training, and what is it like?”
- “What opportunities are there for advancement?”
- “Will you be scheduling follow-up interviews… what are my next steps?”
Talk about the Skills, Knowledge and Experience You Bring to the Job
Start by thinking about the traits and experiences that your interviewer is probably looking for. Depending on the position you are applying for, they could include:
- Experience working as a good team member.
- The ability to speak a second or third language.
- Maturity you gained while studying abroad.
- Specific skills you gained in school that you can use on the job.
- Honors and achievements, such as your membership in Golden Key.
- Demonstrated computer or technical skills.
- Your ability to recover from mistakes or setbacks in the past.
Listen Attentively and Closely
Good listening practices like these demonstrate that you are smart, focused and interested in the position:
- Sit calmly and focus on what the interviewer is asking, without allowing interrupting thoughts to intrude.
- Before answering, ask follow-up questions to be sure you have understood what the interviewer is asking.
- After answering a question, follow up by asking, “Is that what you wanted to know… can I add more?”
Follow Up Strongly
Doing so can make all the difference in whether you get a job offer or not.
- If you are genuinely interested in the job, say so at the end of the interview. If you don’t say you are interested, how can your interviewer know?
- Ask what your next steps are in the hiring process.
- Send a handwritten thank you note to your interviewer. Although that seems formal, it demonstrates your professionalism and strong interest in the job.
Any tips of tricks of your own for job interviews? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Add your experience in the comments below!