How to Do A Stronger, Smarter Interview
By Sandy Schroeder
If you are interviewing, you may or may not be getting the callbacks you want. Knowing what is expected, and providing a strong, confident presence, can make all of the difference.
The New York Times summed up some good tips recently.
Keep it real – Be exactly who you really are in the interview, not some assimilation of lots of tips. It’s good to research interview suggestions, but when you interview, being authentic is the only way to go. Your interviewers have seen all of the guises. They are looking for strong people who know who they are. Practice what you might say, but don’t turn it into a glib spiel. Treat the interview as a conversation. Be vulnerable and honest.
Do background homework – Before you interview, learn something about the company, what they value, how they work. Check your contacts to be aware of the company culture.
Be strong – It’s OK to be modest, but the interviewer does need to know what makes you a great candidate. If you directed a winning team, saved your company money, or helped to reorganize a group, say so. Be quick, brief and convincing, making it clear why you are the best choice.
Screen well – Be prepared to do a video interview that looks polished and professional. No cute pets, kids or other distractions should show up, and you should wear pants and shoes in case they wind up in view.
Ask questions – Show your interest with questions about the company’s work approach. Skip the questions about fringe benefits, but make it clear you are interested with pertinent questions.
Find common ground – Every interview gives you a chance to make a positive connection. You may not get that job, but you might be recommended for others if you connect with the interviewer, and establish common ground. Listen carefully to the interviewer and respond with good questions that reveal who you are and what you have accomplished. If you can turn the interview into a real connection, it may be valuable later.
Things to skip – Don’t go into detail to explain your work or make yourself sound perfect. Bragging, apologizing or making excuses will not get the callback you want.
Throughout the interview, pay attention to learn as you go, making it a positive connection at every level.
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