How to Ace an Interview
Trying to get a job is no easy task! First, you have to struggle with a sea of numerous applicants for little openings. Then again, most recruiters say that they spend less than 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding to place a call to the candidate which means you have to do a solid job of rewriting your resume to suit the job you are applying for. And if you are lucky, you can heave a sigh of relief when you get called for an interview and this is usually the most important and sensitive stage of your job search.
First of all, don’t be scared. If you do the right thing, you will get a job. This article will show you how to ace an interview and get hired for jobs. But you must understand something: The aim of an interview is to identify if there is a match between the role and the candidate. You have as much right in the interview room as the hiring manager. Interviews are a two-way street. You want to enjoy it and the hiring manager wants to enjoy it. The hiring manager wants to know more about you before deciding on whether or not to hire you. You also want to find out if the organization is right for you. Therefore, you shouldn’t think you are being done a favor when you get an interview invitation, don’t let it affect your composure when you are sitting in the interview room. An interview is an opportunity for you as the candidate. It is not judgment day. It is a dialogue with mutual interest. Don’t think the job you are interviewing for is the only job in the world. Therefore, take a good dose of confidence and read on about the ten steps to acing job interviews.
Here are 10 Keys on How to Ace an Interview :
Key 1: Research the organization and industry before the interview
Researching the organization and industry will help you answer questions more intelligently and confidently and stand you out from other candidates that may be less-prepared. Not to mention the fact that you can use the findings from your research to sell yourself in the interview room from the perspective of the needs of the organization. You can do this by asking and searching the organization on google. Visit their website, read their press releases, get information concerning their products and services, past, current and future projects, latest announcements, current promotions, locations, divisions and subsidiaries, major awards and recognition, and even financial information like revenue. Information about their competitors, industry challenge, regulatory landscape are also relevant. Ask people in your network whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. This will assure the hiring manager of your genuine interest in the company. To avoid being blindsided, treat whatever information you find as important and relevant.
Key 2: Conduct a mock interview beforehand
Before you go for the actual interview, you should conduct a mock interview with a friend or relative where you practice giving good answers to common interview questions. In the mock interview, you should look out for questions that you struggled to answer, any of your achievements you did not mention, general setbacks that you had with the interview process and behavioral cues such as nervousness, folded arms, gesticulation, frowns, slouching on seat, feet tapping, etc. Once you have completed the interview, you should review all of the areas you can improve. Check any areas where you felt your knowledge or answers were lacking. If it is possible, consider doing the interview again, with some of the questions the same and some different to help keep you off guard and prepared for anything that might be asked at the actual interview.
Key 3: Practice the most common interview questions
Because of the fact that there are different jobs across different industries and in different organizations, all interviews don’t get conducted the same way. Nonetheless, the questions asked are almost always the same. Most of the time, the first question you’ll be asked is “Tell us about you?” If you have done enough practice, you’ll understand that you don’t need to go on rambling about how you enjoyed going fishing with grandpa while growing up. The hiring manager doesn’t need that. Instead, you should have done enough practice to understand that you are to answer by talking about four major points (early years, education, work history, recent career experience) in two or three sentences.
Here are some common interview questions to prepare for :
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- How does this job fit in with your career goals?
- Why are you leaving (did leave) your present (last) position?
- Why should we hire you?
- Tell us about a time you failed to meet your target.
- What motivates you?
- Describe your work style.
- Tell me something about you that’s not on your resume.
- Do you work well with other people?
- What important trends do you see in our industry?
- How would you describe your own personality?
- What do you think of your current or former boss?
- Do you have any questions to ask ?
Key 4: Sell your knowledge, skills, and abilities to the hiring manager
People pay top dollar for value (skills, abilities, knowledge and experience) and hiring valuable employees is hard, if it wasn’t HR will be a walk in the park. This is what you should communicate in your interview. Use every opportunity to let the hiring manager understand how informed you are about your industry too. If for example, you are interviewing for a digital marketing job, you should understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and the best SEO strategies to use if you have an online business. You should also have good knowledge of common industry buzzwords and be able to paint vivid images in the mind of the hiring manager. For example, “While I was in the marketing department of Dotcom Inc., I implemented an onboarding strategy that improved the conversion rate of our mailing list by 4.7percent by using…” This shows that you know your stuff and you’ve had some experience doing great stuff.
Key 5: Bring value to the table and be a problem-solver
Interviewing with a hiring manager is just like dating. No one wants to spend their time with someone who isn’t offering them value. Especially when the issue of money is involved. The reason you are getting hired is because your employer feels that you can solve problems for him/her not because you have a fancy degree from a fancy school. Therefore, it will make a lot of sense that before the interview you carry out a research of the organization to find out what may be giving them problems. Prepare to tell how you solved a problem on the job. Did you notice a glitch in the front-end design? Can you write a better sales brochure or press release? Can you increase product penetration? Do you have an ingenious idea that will help the organization sell more? This is what you should communicate in the interview. Give clear and concise examples of your problem-solving skills. Use one of the three Job Interview Problem–Solving Formula’s to explain a particular work-related problem you solved. STAR Method( S=situation, T=task, A=action, R=result), CAR Method(C=challenge, A=action, R=result), PAR Method(P=problem, A=action, R=result).
Key 6: Be mindful of interview etiquettes
The manner in which you communicate; choice of words, mannerisms, etiquettes, visual presentation as in dressing all count in the interview room. Never seat before you are asked. Do not put your bag on the interviewer’s table. Put your phone on silent mode not vibration. Never chew gum. Smile often. Use perfumes sparingly. Accessorize lightly. Maintain eye contact and use a firm handshake. Don’t slouch in your seat. Don’t fold your arms. Be attentive all through the interview. Learn to manage reactions. Facial expressions provide clues to your feelings. Manage how you react and project a positive image.
Key 7: Give smart and thoughtful answers to questions
This is the most important part of the interview—answering questions. By now, you should know how to provide good answers to common questions like: tell me a little about yourself. For example, you should answer by considering four headings like early years, education, work history, recent career experience. When asked about how much you will want to get paid, avoid tying yourself to an exact figure for as long as you can. A good way to answer is by saying something like, I understand that the organization has a structure for its remuneration. I want to show you the value that I will bring to the company first and then we can discuss salary. Always research the salary range before every job interview. If the hiring manager insist on discussing salary always give the highest number in the salary range. When you are asked, what’s your weakness? Don’t say you don’t have any. Instead, make your weakness sound like a strength carried too far. You might want to respond by saying, “I sometimes get impatient and become deeply involved when a project is running late.
Key 8: Ask brilliant questions
Hiring managers believe that candidates who ask questions show genuine interest in the organization. Naturally, in the course of the interview, you will come to that part where you will be asked if you have questions for the organization. Always have at 10 to 15 questions ready. This will communicate to the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the organization. But since a job interview is a two-way street, nothing stops you from asking your questions immediately as they arise. You don’t have to wait till the end of the interview to ask questions. Your questions could be on anything from a product release, to operation strategy and even what the future holds for anybody employed into the position for which you are interviewing. Before you show up at the interview, it is important that you adequately research the organization to help you figure out the pertinent questions you should ask. Therefore, ask brilliant questions- prepare a list of questions to ask the hiring manager that will make you stand out among the other job candidates.
Here are some questions you can ask the Hiring Manager or Interviewer:
- Can you describe a typical day in this position?
- What are the roles and responsibilities in this position?
- Who will I report to in this position?
- What are the career advancement and growth opportunities in this position?
- How is the job performance measured or evaulated in this position?
- What are your employment expectations and goals for the first 30-60-90 in this position?
- Can you describe your management style?
- What do you like about this company?
- Can you describe the culture at this company?
- Do you have any concerns about my qualifications for this position?
Key 9: Close by asking for the job
When you are done with the ping pong of questions and responses, re-affirm your value propositions by stating exactly how you are willing to help the organization solve a major problem that you’ve identified in the course of your research. Reveal how enthusiastic you are about working in the organization and how you are going to ensure that the organization achieves it goal through the sheer dedication, creativity, and hard work you will put in place when employed.
Key 10: Make sure to follow up after the interview with a Thank You Letter
It is considered a good practice to always send a gracious, professionally-crafted thank you message unless in situations when the hiring manager explicitly states otherwise. In this regard, a thank you letter is a veritable tool to achieving this. In your thank you letter, you should express your appreciation for the interview opportunity while re-iterating the reasons you are perfect for the job: skills, education, and experience. You should re-inforce your values without regurgitating what has been discussed previously in the interview. What you should do is briefly state one or two important points that you think the hiring manager should know about which you missed in the heat of the interview. When you are through, take thrice the effort it takes you to write to proofread the note. It’ll be a terrible waste of effort on your part for the hiring manager to find grammatical and typographical errors in your letter. Never send a hiring manager or interviewer a generic thank you letter. Always , write a thank you letter and show the hiring manager the value that you will bring to the company as an employee. Including 3-4 benefits driven bullet points in the thank letter will grab the hiring managers attention and make you stand out against the competition.
Give these 10 Keys on how to ace an interview a try and get hired .
Start getting hired for the jobs you want today.
Robert Moment is The Get Hired Expert and author who specializes in helping ambitious people get hired for jobs and make more money. Visit http://www.howtointerviewtips.com and learn how to ace a job interview. Robert is the author of the following books, How to Ace an Interview : Job Interview Tips You Need to Stand Out and Get Hired for Jobs and How to Write a Resume:Winning Resume Writing Tips and Secrets to Get Hired for Jobs.