by JESSICA MILLER-MERRELL
A resume will get you through the door, but the interview is what will get you hired.
You might be the BEST at the JOB you are interviewing for, but if you don’t master communicating that in an interview, you may not get the job. Interviewing is a skill that can be learned… here is what you need to know to do it right.
- Apply to the right jobs. You wouldn’t go on a date with someone who is totally wrong for you, so why would you want to interview for a job that isn’t a good fit? As tempting as it is to go for the highest paying or status jobs you can find, you should really only apply to jobs you know you are qualified for. Also, know what YOU want out of a job. This way you can make sure that the jobs you interview for are ones you actually want and can get.
- Know your stuff – and stop studying for the interview like it’s a test. An interview is a conversation, not a test. So Don’t try to predict what will be asked. If you are applying to the right jobs, you really DO already know everything you need to know to talk about what you can bring to the job. Do practice a few things you KNOW you want to talk about related to your experience and definitely research the company so you know what they do, but don’t practice canned answers like you are playing a part.
- Answer the question. Pay attention to what they are telling you during the interview and what questions they are asking. If they ask how much you grew business in Q4 of last year in your current role and you start talking about what you plan to to do when you are hired, it may seem as though you can’t focus on the task at hand. Keep answers focused and to the point and know when to stop talking and just listen – he who talks the most thinks the interview went the best…let it be them!
- Ask what success looks like. “What are your expectations for the person in this role?” “What impact are you looking for someone to have?” Asking them to talk more about what they are looking for not only shows you are serious, it also may give you important clues on how to represent your experience to help them see you are the perfect person for the job.
- Back your answers up with specific examples. Know your numbers and how to use them… If you are asked what your strategy would be to increase awareness of their brand, be ready to talk about how you might use a similar strategy to that was successful in your current position: that killer ad campaign you launched resulted in 89% growth in profits year over year. Quantifiable success goes a long way to proving you are more than just talk – you get results.
- Set expectations. An interview is not a one way conversation…don’t be afraid to ask them questions that will help you both have a clear idea about timelines. Ask them for guidance in terms of when you can hear back, how far along they are in the interview process, and if they have a date in mind by which they need to hire someone.
Also, let them know you plan to follow up – ask them something like “Hey, if I don’t hear from you in 2 weeks, would it be OK if I check in to see how things are going?”
Questions like these help you manage your follow up, and make sure you don’t leave still waiting for the phone to ring two months later or worse..turning into a total stalker.