We work so hard to get in front of hiring managers. We set up informational interviews, go to networking events, develop our personal brand, and send out official job applications. All in the hopes of landing our next job, our next big opportunity.
This song and dance gets us to the interview, but the first interview is only the beginning. You still have to land the job. You have to impress different stakeholders during multiple interviews.
Now that you cut through the noise and landed the interview, you still have to stand out from the other applicants who moved onto the interview round.
You got one person to pay attention and see your talent. Now you have to impress the entire hiring team. Here are five tips to help you get hired.
1. Research your interviewers and the company
Google every interviewer’s name before you talk to them. Look at their Twitter account. Scan their work history on LinkedIn. Don’t waste precious interview asking questions that can easily be learned online.
Similarly, research the company. Make sure you know their mission, goals, services, and structure. Start with the company website then look for recent news articles. Set a Google alert to get the latest news updates on the company straight to your inbox.
All this research will help you prepare smart questions for the end of your interview such as “Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?” When you ask this question, you can reference things you learned through your research on the company.
2. Identify the top 3-5 things you want your interviewers to know about you
Re-read the job description to refresh yourself on the skills that are essential for you to perform this job. Then prepare some talking points to have ready for the common questions you think you will be asked.
Then think back through your work history. Make sure your top 3-5 skills or strengths overlap with this job description and make sure you emphasize them during your interview. This will demonstrate you are ready for this next challenge and can easily slot into the position.
To help guide your interview responses, review major projects you’ve worked on, revisit previous job performance reviews to find positive feedback from coworkers, and make a list of your professional accomplishments.
3. Use the STAR method to answer questions
During any interview, you want to make sure your responses are structured and impactful. No one wants to hear a laundry list of tasks you’ve done before. Instead, find a few good story examples to highlight your relevant work background.
Use the STAR method outlined below to frame all of your answers and to tie responses back to your skills and accomplishments.
S- Situation: Set the context of your story. Focus on what’s relevant to your story. Don’t share too many unnecessary details. This portion of your response is merely teeing you up.
T- Task: Explain what your role was in this particular situation at work. Where did you fit in, and how were you involved? Get specific on your responsibilities and any objectives that were assigned to you.
A- Action: After giving interviewers the big picture, tell your interviews a detailed version of what you did and accomplished. Tell them all the actions you completed under your specific responsibility on the project.
R- Result: Now take those accomplishments and talk about the results. How did your actions lead to an impact? Interviewers want to know why your actions mattered at work. If you have any numbers to summarize the results, even better. Share some of those dazzling stats.
4. Practice with a friend
As much as you research and prep, you do most of it in your head and on paper. Forgetting to actual practice your answers out loud.
So don’t stumble for words when you finally get to the interview. Make sure you ask a friend for 20-30 minutes of their time to run through common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself.”
You’ll want to practice speaking out loud about yourself and your accomplishments to make the official interview easier. If you don’t perfect your pitch for yourself, you’ll feel let down at the end of an interview and might not move on to the next round.
For each common interview question, it’s good to have a 30 second response ready, a 2 minute response ready, and a 3-5 minute response ready. For example, if you are in a 30 minute interview with 5+ people in the committee you need to be succinct and concise with your answers, so everyone has a chance to ask you at least 1 question. In that situation, a 3-5 minute long winded answer may not be well suited.
5. Be yourself (corny but true!)
If you don’t act like yourself in an interview, then the hiring manager won’t really be hiring you. They’ll be hiring a different version of yourself that you acted out. Which will get tiring quick!
Fitting into an office culture with your authentic personality and workstyle is critical.
So always respond honestly to any questions the interviewers ask. Don’t tell interviewers what you think they want to hear. Tell the truth! The employer is assessing if you are a good fit as much as you are trying to determining if the company is a good fit.
Whether they ask you about a hard skill, your communication style, or your hobbies, be honest. Honesty and authenticity is better for the long haul.
Bottom line: if interviewers don’t laugh at any of your jokes, seem interested in your past accomplishments, or respond well your questions . . . maybe it’s time to move on. Enjoying your coworkers and managers on the job is paramount for job satisfaction.
Do you have other interview tips? Drop them in the comments below!