You’ve found a posting for your dream job, something you’ve always envisioned yourself doing. You look up the job description and you can do more than what is needed. You polish up your resume, write a brilliant cover letter, cross your fingers and click on the mouse button sending up your hopes into cyberspace. After a few weeks and several positive steps you have been shortlisted for that final interview with the hiring manager and you are told that a decision will be made right after that face-to-face meeting.
The hubris of excitement is quickly replaced with a gnawing sense of anxiety as the brunt of the pressure begins to bear down on you. Years of education, projects, work experience and personality will be evaluated in that single hour. What can you do to make sure you deliver a successful pitch in that limited time given to you? Well, that single hour is really the tip of the iceberg because when facing a final interview, the best way to ensure success is to prepare for it. Read on to discover our job interview tips for success.
Before the Interview
Preparing for a job interview is much more essential than the interview itself. Great interviews, the kinds that deliver your dream job don’t happen by accident. They are the product of thorough and diligent preparation. Performing the necessary research to get ready also exhibits your level of commitment to the job presented to you.
1. Review your resume and your achievements
What you put in your resume are the headlines of what you’ve accomplished. Going into the details and providing the tangible results are essential to prove the validity of what’s in your resume as well as provide that you are a fit for the role. A great tip would be to identify your top 3 accomplishments for each work experience you listed. You will need to quantify what value this accomplishment added and how it impacted the business in a positive way.
2. Do some research on your interviewer
This doesn’t mean going into his or her social media pages to find out the name of his or her cat, that’s a sure way to lose the job on account of being creepy. Keep your level of research completely professional. Try using sites like LinkedIn or Crunchbase or review blogs and press releases on that individual. This provides you a glimpse and allows you to find out what that person considers as valuable to his or her work environment.
3. Ask insiders about the company, the role and the management
Stack the odds in your favor by using some intel to gain information that can position your capabilities to your advantage. Knowing what possibly may be some difficult issues can help you highlight some of your skills that can resolve them, which you can mention in a subtle way during your interview. For example, if a company is bogged down by a lot of bureaucracy and red tape, during your interview you can mention how you were able to implement process improvements to make things more efficient in a previous job.
4. Anticipate the questions and create your own questions
All of that preparation work culminates in this pre-interview exercise. Anticipate what your interviewer may potentially ask you on your resume and what follow-up questions may arise when you talk about the top 3 accomplishments per job that you prepared. With the issues of the company now stashed in your head, expect questions that are poised toward your experience that matches the opportunities you heard about. If those questions aren’t asked, this is the time to also formulate leading questions on your end that can open that prospect to insert the experience you know of.
During the Interview
It goes without saying that the usual tips of being on time, being dressed professionally, maintaining eye contact, having a firm handshake and having backup copies of your resume are necessitated, so we’ll concentrate on deeper and more insightful job interview tips for during your meeting.
5. When asked to talk about your experience use the FDS method
The average attention span of an adult is 4 minutes and 22 seconds, so picture that time frame every time a question is asked of you. Normally, the longest answer is when you’re generally asked about your experience. You need to frame, discuss and summarise your entire work experience and remember to focus on your top 3 achievements. Make sure you keep your answer to that timeframe to ensure the interviewer doesn’t zone out and miss some key points you want to get across.
6. Validate your answers with quantified examples
Doing this step assures your interviewer that what you’re discussing isn’t all theory or that it’s some scripted answer you took off the Internet. Being able to provide an example is further bolstered when you show numbers on how that example benefited the organization you were previously in.
7. Talk openly when you are processing your response
Speaking your mind when thinking about how to arrive at your answer will get you bonus points with the interviewer. It provides a glimpse at how you are processing a difficult question and gives the assurance that you are an open and transparent communicator. Doing this also actually buys you some time in getting the correct reply instead of instantly just blurting out an answer that can sink you into a hole you can’t get out of.
8. Ask questions and don’t wait until the end to do so
Traditionally, job seekers wait until the customary, “Do you have any questions for me?” is asked. It’s better to ask the questions after you’ve answered the initial question from the interviewer. This is also where you pop in what you’ve researched to impress your interviewer. For example, after you’re asked to talk about your experience and you mention your process improvement expertise, you can ask how open the company is to changes in processes and how change management is enacted. This engages the interviewer and allows him or her to be further impressed by how you think and have a proactive call to action in how you work
9. How to answer the “weakness” question
Almost all interviewers know that you’re placing your best foot forward and are packaging yourself as the perfect fit for the role. All of them also know that no one is perfect and each one has a weakness. The best way to answer the question, “So what is your greatest weakness?” is to address your weakness as an opportunity. Take the time to answer this question and think out loud to create an impression that you aren’t providing a canned response. Be honest and indeed discuss your biggest professional opportunity, talk about an example where you realized it and what steps you’ve taken to address it.
After the Interview
Always send a thank you note to your interviewer and to the recruiter who set you up for that interview. Thank them for giving you their valuable time to meet with you. This is also a great opportunity to recap some of the points that really piqued the interest of your interviewer. If there were any open questions that needed to be closed out on pending further clarity, this is also the opportunity to do so.
Now sit back and wait for some news while your application is being evaluated. Preparing for that one hour of fame is exhausting but nothing is gained without a lot of hard work. Best of luck in getting that dream job! If you liked our job interview tips and want more career advice, check out the rest of the Saxons blog today.