5 Top Interview Tips
One of the fantastic benefits of having years of experience in the business world is, well, you have years of experience in the business world to leverage and showcase! You know how to do your research and you have a pretty good idea of how you could be of value and help companies. Your goal in the interview is to make sure the people looking for help solving problems, see you, and your skills as a solution.
These 5 interviewing tips will help you walk into that next interview with a little more focus and confidence.
Be a Closer.
What does it mean to be prepared for an interview?
Doing your homework on a company, its managers, and a position really prepares you to know how to match your experience with a company's need. Plus, it gives you a boost of confidence going in. These days a lot of interviews can seem formulaic like they are asking the same questions of every candidate, and you know that might just be the case. No matter, you have to navigate how to shine within the system of interviewing you are working in.
So, of course, use all the tools at your disposal, social media, company websites and blogs, career sites, and your network to understand, at a high level, what the company does, how they do it, what the culture is like, and where they have opportunities and challenges.
Use this research to figure out, for example, how to dress for success at this particular interview! Remember it's always okay to be a little overdressed for an interview but a suit with heels may bump you right out of contention whereas slacks with a jacket would have been just fine.
Remember, you've made it to the interview stage so you have the skills that they need. Now, in addition to highlighting how you can add value, you need to convey enthusiasm for the opportunity and give them confidence you will fit in with the company.
They are trying you on for a role. You want everyone you meet with to walk away thinking, I can see them here and doing a fantastic job in that role.
How do I come across as authentic?
By looking at every interview as a two-way street, you maintain a feeling of control during an interview. You have just as much at stake in this decision and you need to get comfortable with how the company operates, clear on the challenges and opportunities they face, and assess whether you will work well with this team. In order to do that, you need to put your authentic self out there.
Don't be afraid of practice interviews. Work with someone who will give you honest feedback to make sure you are not making mistakes like oversharing. Also, you need to practice your resting face. This sounds so corny but as our faces age, we have to be aware that sometimes our faces can look sad or angry when we are not feeling any of those emotions at all! And smile, genuinely smile all the way to your eyes. It relaxes you and the people you will be meeting with.
Don't get me wrong, being authentic does not mean being an open book, but it does mean being generally curious about everything. When you are actively engaged in a conversation, it shows. A lot of times, you won't be the right fit for a role but you still want everyone you meet to have a positive impression of you as a genuine person, someone they would like to work with, and someone who could add a lot of value to the right role.
It's a small world and everyone you meet is a potential resource and a potential lead for other opportunities. No interview is a waste of time. You can learn something from every one of these conversations.
Being authentic means knowing yourself well, including your strengths and weaknesses, and it means sharing them in a positive way. It means demonstrating where you can help and also knowing your non-negotiables so you can authentically evaluate a company, a team, and a position.
You can't make a round peg fit into a square hole and when both sides approach the interview authentically, win-wins happen more often than not.
Don't take offense, dial-up the energy.
What the heck does that mean? I know this is a tough one but I would refer to the tip above about being authentic and then think about how to portray your enthusiasm for the job you are interviewing for in a sincere way. Some of us have spent years working on our poker faces and portraying a serene, calm exterior. This would not be the time to be blase and too cool, it will come across as unapproachable, or worse, disinterested.
I think conveying that you are high energy and can fit in with today's fast-paced, high-tech company cultures is important. And let's be honest, that's how just about every company sees themselves, so it's worth some prep and focus, but how you demonstrate energy will be completely unique to you.
Wait, I'm not in Sales, why do I have to be a Closer?
Oh yes, you are in Sales. Everyone is in Sales! And you are selling your skills and your value, which should be the easiest thing in the world for you to sell. Just kidding! Sort of. If your interview is going well, you can signal to the interviewer that you are very interested by asking questions to understand where they are at in the process, what the timing is for a decision, what the next steps are, and if there is anything else you can do or provide to help them in their evaluation.
Interviewing is a skill and just like any skill it needs to be practiced. You can get better and even good at it. You will probably never love it and heh, that's okay.
Be memorable. In a good way.
Know what points you need to get across in the interview and then figure out ways to weave them into the conversation. It's important that key things about what you can provide are remembered after you have left the building.
I had a boss once who used to say a lot, Don't be that guy! Of course he was not speaking to me directly but I have to admit I use it with my teenage boys. Being memorable can be tricky, but the proper preparation will put you on the road to being memorable for all of the right reasons.
It helps to make sure that your entire package has left a great, lasting impression on the interviewer. And then stay engaged and follow-up with a thank you that same day and either highlight something you may have forgotten to mention or that you want to reinforce in their mind.
So there you have it, five tips to help you have more drop the mic interviews. Want more? Join Women with Dynamic Purpose on Friday, November 1st for our annual meeting. This year's meeting is a workshop-style session where attendees will roll up there sleeves and go deep into practical tools, including updating resumes and preparing for interviews, to make sure you are ready to thrive in the face of any professional shift.