You sent out tons of resumes and now you are starting to see results because your phone is ringing off the hook to schedule interviews. You think to yourself: The hard part is getting those interviews, so the rest is a piece of cake. Sending your resume to apply for a job is just one piece of the puzzle, but conducting a successful interview in the next step in landing a job. A successful interview depends on thorough and extensive preparation. Here are 10 strategic approaches to conducting a successful interview.
Do research on a company before you step foot in the door for an interview. This is one of the most crucial steps in showing hiring managers that you really want to work for a company. Read some of the corporate literature and become familiar with the company’s website. When you learn about the company’s mission statement, philosophy about business, traits it values in its employees, and overall corporate culture, it gives you the leverage you need to impress your interviewer while showing you really want to work there.
Establish your personal brand as soon as you walk in the door. Your resume should convey your personal brand on paper, which is how you landed the interview in the first place. But now you have to convey your personal brand in person while showcasing what you have to offer a company. One of the secrets to having a successful interview and landing a job quicker is to strategically align your personal brand with the requirements for the job.
Stress your flexibility when given the opportunity. Whether it is keeping your calendar flexible to schedule subsequent interviews, receiving a potential start date, or even talking about your potential job duties, be sure to stress your flexibility. This is an intangible quality that hiring managers look for in candidates because it demonstrates your willingness and ability to work well in a team environment.
Conversation is a two-way street. One of the biggest mistakes jobseekers make is that they let the interviewer control the entire interview. Jobseekers fall into the trap of letting interviewers ask all of the questions, direct the conversation topics, and steer the overall tone of the interviews. When you sit passively in a conversation, it expresses a sense of disinterest. Be sure to hold up your end of the conversation by asking questions to propel the conversation forward. This helps to engage interviewers in a dialogue and helps them feel invested in the conversation. Once an interviewer feels invested in a conversation, they will feel a rapport with you. This rapport will significantly impact their decision about your viability for the job.
Ask questions about the job you are interviewing for and the company as a whole. Any time you ask questions during an interview, it shows that you are very eager to make a positive contribution and relevant impact on the company. It also shows that you are eager to learn more so you can perform at your best if given the job. Asking questions about the job or the company will give you the opportunity to identify key characteristics or required skills that you need to possess if you want to be hired.
Know your resume front and back. This is another mistake that jobseekers make when going on interviews. They forget dates or company names on the resume simply as an error of omission or due to nerves. Study your resume and be astutely aware of its highlights, job duties, timelines, and core competencies. Focus on the content. Hand your resume to a friend or spouse and have them randomly quiz you on the resume content. Evaluate your responses to make sure they match the resume.
Study the job announcement before the interview. If you find yourself in a position of having a job announcement to review, by all means review it and study it. This will make all the difference for you during the interviews. If you have an idea of what the job requires, you can tailor your responses and highlight your skills that relate to the job requirements.
Be aware of your body language at all times. Most interviewers go into an interview and observe your body language. They are trained to read your non-verbal cues. They are highly adept at detecting inconsistencies in what you convey verbally and what your body language actually says. Your body language must complement your verbal statements if you want to give credence to what you are saying.
Dress for interview success. One of the first things an interviewer notices about you is your personal appearance and visual image. If you are not able to put yourself together visually in a professional capacity, then why should it be assumed that you can put it all together on the job. The respect and credibility you receive at a job interview is in direct proportion to the respect and credibility your visual image earns before you say a word.
Follow up after your interview. The interview went well, they liked your resume, your skills matched the job, and you gave the right answers—you’re hired! Well, it’s not that simple. You might have made a positive impression on paper and during the interview, but now it’s time to make a good impression by reaffirming your desire to work for the company. By crafting a follow up letter, you keep your name current with hiring managers and interviewers. It also gives you the opportunity to reiterate why you are the most qualified candidate for the job. You can also take the opportunity to address any talking points or issues that might not have turned out as you hoped.
As you can see, interviews are more than just showing up, answering some questions, and heading home. There is a complete and comprehensive strategy that you should employ if you want to have a successful interview. It takes extensive preparation if you want to master the skill of interviewing. After a company has your resume, it is imperative that you follow through with adequate interview preparation by conducting research on the company, making sure your personal brand aligns with the job, remaining aware of your body language, and following up after your interviews. If you follow all of these strategic components when preparing for your interview, you will go a long way in making a lasting first impression that will ultimately land you a job.