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Unexpected Tips for Mastering the Job Interview

As a job seeker, it’s exciting to be selected to interview for a coveted position. You extensively research the company, formulate insightful questions and secure stellar references. But are these preparations enough to stand-out from the competition and become the candidate of choice? Not really. What’s often missing is a thoughtful interview strategy that helps the interviewer choose you over the other qualified candidates.

Prepare and Practice
When thinking about an interview, think about the purpose, structure and content of your discussion. As you would prepare for any persuasive presentation, strategize and create content with a goal of becoming the candidate of choice. Start by identifying the key points you want the interviewer to know about you - beyond your job skills – and fill in the presentation with examples that support these points. Then practice. You may think it’s easy to advocate for yourself, but to do it right takes rehearsing and offers the opportunity for you to set yourself apart from other candidates. 

Use Your Company Research Wisely
While it’s crucial to research the company, how you use that research to tell your story is the key. Quoting facts and data about the organization is telling the interviewer information he already knows and eliminates the chance to weave in your expertise in a very compelling way. Try something like, “I read that your company just hired a number of recent college grads for your training program. I just finished a project where I designed and implemented an extensive training program for fresh grads and it was very successful.” By referencing recent news about a company, it not only shows you did your homework but that you applied that research in a way that sells yourself as the premier candidate.

Dialogue over Monologue
Oftentimes, the interview structure defaults to a one- way street, initiated by the interviewer. While you may have and demonstrate impressive skills and experience, you miss the opportunity to create a dialogue and in-turn a real rapport with the hiring manager. Find ways to draw the person into a conversation and make them feel at ease. In most hiring scenarios, the interviewer hires someone who makes them feel comfortable – both personally and professionally. Personally – meaning they could interact and work with you, and professionally – meaning you will perform above the other candidates and fit in with the company culture.

Apply What You’ve Learned
One of the ways to set yourself apart from the candidate pool is to show that you can apply what you’ve learned to new situations. Find opportunities to talk about what you did, but more importantly, what you have learned from an experience and how you used it to benefit your organization. If you can convince the interviewer that you have a proven problem-solving methodology and that process gleans great results, you will better your odds of getting the job.

Human nature rules this process. Managers are judged, in part, by their ability to identify and hire good talent. Create a thoughtful interview strategy and convince the hiring manager that you will have a positive effect on the role and the company. These tips will help you stand out from the competition so you become the candidate of choice.

Photo Credit: Speechbop