You’ve been busy applying for job openings and now you’ve landed an interview with your ideal company. What is the best way to prepare so you can make a great impression on the hiring manager? Below are seven job interview tips that will significantly increase your chances of success.
- Research the company. Make sure you conduct extensive research on the company you’re interviewing with, as well as the hiring managers you will be meeting. LinkedIn is a great tool for researching individuals, and Google Alerts is a great way to keep up with company news. Be prepared to ask specific questions about the company’s products, services, target markets or recent news. Hiring managers will be looking to see if you’ve done your research, and many times this will be criteria they’ll use to screen out candidates who are not prepared.
- Make a list of your accomplishments. As you prepare for your interview, write out your accomplishments. For each position, list your major accomplishments and describe how you achieved them. This also includes the strategies and processes you used to identify what needed to be done and how you implemented the changes. The trick here is to handwrite all of this out. By handwriting your notes, you move the information from long-term memory to short-term memory, making it much easier to access. I recommend candidates perform this exercise a few days before their interview and then review it the day of the interview.
- Focus on the intangibles. In a blog post, The Wall Street Journal stated communication skills, organizational skills and punctuality are some of the most common attributes that lead to hiring. Some other traits hiring managers frequently rate at the top of their lists are a strong drive or work ethic, the ability to build trust and listening skills. These aren’t skills that are easy to show on a resume, so it’s very important you highlight them and give examples of how you’ve used them during the interview.
- Cultivate your mindset. Your mindset is so important when you interview. You want to convey confidence and self-assurance. Tell them why you’re the right person for the job, and be sure to “ask for the job.” Remember: Energy and enthusiasm are highly contagious. Be sure to show your enthusiasm.
- Listen. Listen carefully during your interview. I can’t stress this enough. Pay attention not just to what is said but also to the interviewer’s body language. Not only does this allow you to engage more effectively with the hiring manager, but it can also display one of the key intangibles hiring managers look for: effective listening skills. There’s an old saying that is a great reminder: “You have two ears and one mouth. Remember to listen twice as much as you speak.”
- Be prepared for Q&A. At the end of the interview, the interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions. I can’t emphasize this enough: Always ask questions. This shows the interviewer you’re interested and gives you a great opportunity to show your observational and listening skills by asking follow-up questions from items discussed earlier in the conversation. If the interviewer doesn’t ask if you have any questions, take the initiative and request to ask a few questions.
- Pose a final question. In his article in Forbes titled “12 Surprising Job Interview Tips,” Jon Youshaei shared a great tip. Before your interview ends, ask the hiring manager, “Have I said anything in this interview or given you any other reason to doubt that I am a good fit for this role?” Not only does this show your confidence, but it allows the hiring manager to share any concerns he or she has and allows you to respond.
One final note: Be sure to thank the hiring manager for his or her time. Handwritten “thank you” notes are less common now and are a very nice touch. This will keep you top-of-mind as well as show your gratitude.