by Ashira Prossack
A job interview is the first step towards your future. Just like first impressions, you have one shot to get it right and make an impact. With the right preparations. you can be the best candidate that’s interviewed. Do it right, and you’ll leave a lasting impression and have the company eagerly calling you back for the next round. How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd?
Talk about more than just what’s on your resume.
The interview is your chance to shine. Your interviewer has already looked over your resume, so they know the basics. When they ask you to talk about your work history, that’s when you can elaborate and give more details about your accomplishments. Highlight the parts of your current job that you excel at and any major achievements you’ve had. If you’re transitioning into a new field, use the time to explain how your current experience ties in to the job you’re interviewing for.
Ask the right questions.
The interview is just as much of an opportunity for you to get to know the company as it is for them to get to know you. Don’t wait until the end to ask questions. Not only does asking questions help you get to know more about the company, it shows that you’re interested in the opportunity. Some of the best questions to ask are follow ups to something you’ve been asked in the interview. That shows that you’re eager to learn more and have a genuine interest in the company.
Asking questions helps you get a better feel for the company culture. Ask your interviewer what they like most about working for the company. Have them describe a time when people came together to solve a problem. If there are aspects of a working environment that are important to you, this is your time to ask about them. Avoid questions about perks and time off – those questions should come later.
Show how you’ll add value.
Show the interviewer how you’d add value as an employee. While the interview format is usually rather cut and dry, your answers shouldn’t be. Elaborate on the questions that you’re asked. There’s the usual set of hypothetical questions where you’re asked ‘what would you do if…’ Go into as much detail as possible with your answers and take it one step further than the basics. Do some research beforehand and answer the hypothetical question with a situation relevant to the company and/or industry.
The interview is not the time to be humble. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished and what you can do for your future employer. Brag a little! Remember that they asked you to come in for an interview, so they already like you! If you start to feel nervous, keep that thought in your mind.
Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear.
Interviewers know when people are simply telling them what they think they should say. Be yourself in the interview. After all, that’s what made them interested in the first place. You don’t want to seem like you’re just rattling off well-rehearsed answers. Over rehearsed answers can come off as impassionate or disinterested.
Chances are, you’ve applied to multiple positions and been on multiple interviews. There’s nothing worse than slipping up and talking about another company. It’s an innocent mistake but sends a message to the company that you’re not focused. You only get one first impression, so make it count.
Make sure your speech matches your appearance.
You’re in a professional setting, you’ve dressed professionally, you’ve prepared a professional resume. Your language needs to match this. Speak clearly and confidently. Remember that the interviewer is your next potential employer, so maintain a level of professionalism in your language. The level of formality will vary by company, but professionalism is important whether you’re applying for a corporate job or a startup.
Know that your body language speaks too.
Body language, proper posture, and maintaining eye contact are critical in making a good impression. You can have the most fantastic idea, but if you’re slumping in your chair when you’re delivering it, it won’t have the same impact. Sit upright in your chair and look the interviewer in the eyes when you’re speaking. Make sure you’re not crossing your arms or fidgeting with your hands. Plus, having good posture actually makes you feel more confident.
Now that you know what to do, you can head into your next interview with confidence and ace it!