Well, it’s not exactly a science – it’s more like an art. There are a few things you can do, of course, like: prepare; send out your resume to as many potential employers as possible; follow-up in a respectful (aka non-annoying) way; make sure your resume is updated; have a solid and unique cover letter; and know what your strengths are as they relate to each employer. Here’s a collection of tips I’ve learned over years of being on both sides of the interview table:
Go In Confident
Know that you should have the job you’re interviewing for. Do your research, learn as much about the company and the specific position within that company as you possibly can. Ask people who work there, check out LinkedIn, read the job description over and over, and ask questions in advance, if you can. If the employer offers to “answer any questions you may have” – jump on it! If something on the job description is unclear, then ask away. Walk in to the interview room knowing everything about the job you’re applying for, and there’s nothing to be nervous about! You know you’re right for the job, that’s why you’re interviewing for it.
Be Real, Be Yourself
There’s no need to act like someone you’re not when interviewing. Interviewers, in most cases, are trained to do what they do – and they can see right through fake interviewees. Don’t say what you think they want to hear, say what’s true. The more you stick to who you are, what you know, and what your experience is, the better off you’ll be. Often times, an interview is engineered to weed out the liars and storytellers, by asking the same question several times, each time using different words. If you’re making stuff up to make yourself sound better or more qualified, chances are you’re going to get caught. Be yourself from start to finish.
Be Respectful & Polite
Use the interviewer’s name – whether it’s “John” or “Mr. Smith”. People appreciate hearing their name – they feel respected. Look them in the eyes, smile, react to how they’re speaking. If they’re loose, then loosen up! Especially if they are interviewing many candidates in a day, interviewers will appreciate someone who can help break up the monotony by chatting a bit, asking them how they’re doing, how the interview process is going, etc. As soon as they jump into the formal interview, that’s your cue to get into gear – no more small talk. Listen well, and only speak when you’re asked a question. Don’t interrupt them. Ask them questions, as well – show that you care about the position, that you’re not just there to get a paying gig.
Try to differentiate yourself from others. How are you different? How are you better? Why should they hire you over the other candidates? Even before the interview process, make sure you have something that stands out. Here’s a website I built, in an effort to increase my chances of being noticed and remembered during a job search:
This site, hireh.im (as in “hire him”) is an online portal of my professional profile – my resume (or at least an email link to obtain my updated resume), LinkedIn profile, and Twitter information (@dwolfe56) can be found on the page.
I’m no expert – but I have been on both sides of the table – I interviewed several times for jobs (successfully, I might add), was part of the screening team at one of my previous employers, and was responsible, along with my business partner, for hiring talent at a startup that I co-founded. So take my tips for what they’re worth. If you have any questions, you know how to reach me.