Whether you realize it or not, each interview is a competition. Different people try to prepare for the meetings with the hiring managers, each in their own way, and then they try to make the best possible impression in the interviews, with a simple goal–to outclass the other job seekers, and sign a coveted employment agreement. But who will win? Has the most experienced candidate the best chances to succeed? Or is the one with the most prestigious education the favorite? Or perhaps the applicant who gives the best answers to the toughest interview questions?
This isn’t always easy to say. In every interview, however, you have to stand out to succeed. If you say the same things everyone else says, and show similar attitude and level of motivation, you cannot hope of getting any amazing job. In this article we will look at 7 interview tips that should help you stand out, in a good way, and eventually walk away with a new employment agreement. Let’s start!
Job interview is a sales talk
It is not what you know, or experienced in your life, that matters on the big day. The only thing that matters is what you can convince the interviewers about. Gaining experience and succeeding in different spheres of life is one thing. Selling these experiences in the interviews another one.
A person who did nothing but flipping burgers at McDonald’s for past five years can get a managerial job, if they manage to convince the recruiters that their job at McD’s has prepared them perfectly for a role of a manager. They can convince them with amazing answers to behavioral questions, for example.
Oppositely, a candidate with MBA degree and ten years of professional experience can fall short, if they cannot talk about their experience, and remain silent when facing the questions in the interviews.
Show them the value you can bring onboard. Tell them what you learned, and achieved. Tell them how your knowledge and experience translates into the value you can bring to their team. That’s what professional selling is about–to showing the customer the value they will get with their “purchase”.
Let them lead the interview and show respect where it is due
Every day, recruiters and hiring managers meet job candidates who think and talk only about their own careers and dreams. People who always have another offer on their table, and who believe that the world is turning around them. Such people rarely succeed in an interview.
The key is to let the interviewers lead the meeting. You should pay attention to their words, answer their questions, and only ask something when it makes a perfect sense, or when they directly give you an opportunity to do so. They should feel that you respect their skills and position in the room. They are there to ask questions, and you are there to answer, regardless of who earns more money, or who is older.
Extra efforts bring extra results
Only one of every ten job candidates brings a recommendation from their previous employer, or a portfolio to the interviews. Most people will bring only their resume, or they will bring nothing at all, relying on the hiring managers to have the file on them.
But you should remember that everything that happens before, during, and after the interview reflects your motivation and interest for the job. Did you print your resume? Did you send a follow-up letter after the interview? Did you research about the company and the job offer, and prepared some to the point questions you want to ask at the end of the interview?
The interviewers take notice of everything (both consciously and subconsciously), and whether they hire you or not depend on many small details. The more you do, the more effort you put into your interview preparation, the better your chances of succeeding will be.
Confidence is the key – not necessarily showing it, but having it
The failures from the past have nothing to do with your chances of succeeding in your next interview. But unless you believe in your chances, unless you are ready to succeed in your mind, you will hardly make it.
The success starts with the right mindset. Right mindset will lead to the correct interview preparation, and positive presence in an interview. I know that you may lack confidence. Maybe you’ve heard your share of bad words, and nobody else believes in you, or you’ve experienced your share of failures recently.
It doesn’t matter now. You have some strengths and some skills, and you can definitely bring some value to the employer. Each interview is a new chance, and everything starts from zero. Keep it on your mind, and do not let your past mistakes or setbacks to prevent you from succeeding this time around.
Get your nerves under control
I’ve experienced it many times that a skilled and smart job applicant remained silent in the interviews. Their nerves got the better of them, they lost their focus, stuttered, or simply sweated and said nothing when I asked them some scenario-based questions.
This should not happen to you. Try to use some simple breathing exercises, listen to a relaxing music, or use any other remedies right before your interview to tame your anxiety. We have a special article on how to overcome interview nerves, check it out for some advanced strategies.
And if you fail to do so, if you are incredibly nervous, share it with the hiring managers. Tell them that you are nervous because you care, because the interview means a lot to you. In many cases, this alone will help you calm down. And even if it does not, the interviewers will have more understanding for your occasional stutter or anything similar.
Interviewers are only people, like me or you
At the end of the day, hiring managers are human beings from flesh and bones, just like everyone else. They enjoy talking to people who are interested in them, people who think on the same wavelength, simply people they feel good around.
Try to be such a companion in the interviews. Show positive emotions, show interest in what they do in the company, compliment them for anything that deserves words of praise, and make this a good meeting of two human beings, not thinking whether it is an interview, a date, or a court hearing… Personal preferences always play some role in the interviews. Make sure that they play in your favor.
Luck favors the prepared mind
As you can see from reading this article, many small details matter in the interviews, and play their role in the decisions of the hiring managers. Having said that, the best connection you make with the people in the room, great dress & no stress, or even an amazing portfolio, will not suffice to succeed if you give them poor interview answers.
Do your research about the organization, check interview questions for the specific job title (here on InterviewPenguin.com we have interview questions & answers for over 200 job titles, so we can definitely help you with the task), and try to prepare for each question you may face. That’s the cornerstone of your success. Other things also matter, but unless you give the interviewers at least decent interview answers, you won’t get the job… I hope you will succeed, and wish you good luck!
P.S. If you’d like to streamline your interview preparation, check out our Interview Success Package. Premium answers to all questions you may face (+ more) will help you stand out and walk away with a new job contract. Thank you for checking it out!