- Interviewing for a new job can be stressful, unsettling and downright scary.
- Preparation is the key to success.
- Tom Hausler, a seasoned recruitment pro at Viaduct, has built a list of do’s and don’ts to help crush your next job interview.
Research the company
You’ve secured an interview at a new company. Congrats! But don’t celebrate for too long—now, the real work begins. Researching the organization and learning more about its products or service lines will help you to gain a better understanding of its purpose. Utilize sites like LinkedIn to learn more about your interviewer. Review the company’s mission and values to ensure they align with your own. By doing your “homework” before the interview, your interview responses will demonstrate your interest in the role while highlighting your sense of preparation and professionalism.
Practice and prepare
Yes, practice does make perfect—especially when it comes to interviews. Before your conversation, look up common interview questions online and rehearse your responses. You can even record yourself while doing so to listen to the tone and speed of your voice while getting a sense of how your body language comes across. These video recordings can help you make subtle—but significant—adjustments to improve your interview performance.
Arrive on time
This one should be a given—but you’d be surprised at how many job candidates still show up late for an interview. I always tell interviewees to show up at least 10 minutes before their scheduled in-person interview. And for candidates whose interview is being conducted virtually, be sure to confirm well in advance that your computer, laptop, or tablet can integrate with the organization’s videoconferencing platform of choice.
Build a rapport with your interviewer
Connecting with your interviewer is an important part of the interview. But I often see candidates try too hard to build a rapport with the person they’re meeting with. Instead of trying to be someone you’re not, show off your genuine self. Interviewers are trying to get a feel for whether candidates could fit within their teams or organizations, so don’t try to put on a facade. By researching your interviewer and their professional background, you may discover some things that you have in common—which can help you to better connect with them during your interview.
Be a storyteller
Rather than simply regurgitating the important information that’s on your resume, don’t be afraid to tell stories about your professional journey. Give your interviewer an indication of your desires, passions, and career aspirations. Provide examples of successes and failures and what you learned from them. Describe your role when involved in projects or large-scale deliverables. Opening up about your past experience will help to make your interview more memorable and separate you from the rest of the pack.
Get out in front of any potential “red flags”
Due to business disruption caused by the pandemic, it’s not uncommon to find employment gaps on some candidates’ resumes. While these holes may have been causes for concern in previous years, they’re much more widely accepted now. If you have employment gaps on your resume, be sure to explain them. And if you left one position shortly after accepting another offer with a different company, you can discuss the transition, too. It’s always best to educate your interviewer on your employment history. Don’t leave any room for assumptions!
Come armed with end-of-interview questions
It’s always a good idea for candidates to have a list of questions to draw from at the end of an interview. Posing interesting and insightful questions to your interviewer can further highlight your interest in the role and curiosity to learn more about the opportunity. I advise candidates to ask questions like, “Tell me about your experience at XYZ Company. What’s your favorite part about working here? How have you felt connected to the organizational culture?” Not only do these questions make your interview more conversational, but they enable you to pick up bits and pieces about what to expect if you are offered—and accept—the position.
Send an email or handwritten thank–you note
This is a classy gesture that is often overlooked by candidates. In my experience, handwritten notes are often best received by interviewers. But because many employees are currently working from home, an email message will suffice. In your note, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time. Try to connect back to a topic that you touched on in your conversation. And of course, affirm your interest in the position.
Throughout my recruiting career, I’ve witnessed thousands of candidate interviews. The ultimate secret to success? Confidence. If you’re confident heading into your interview, you’ll be sure to impress your interviewer. Don’t second-guess any of your answers or try to do too much during the conversation. By staying true to yourself, positive results will follow!
Interested in getting your feet wet with a startup? Browse the latest job openings on our Forge Buffalo job board here.
Looking for more insight from recruitment professionals on how to maximize your interview performance? Check out this latest E-Book from the Acara Solutions team.