Put your best foot forward during your interview. Use this checklist to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls.
You’re Hired: 4 Tips To Nailing Your First Interview.
It’s all about the prep work. You can be the most charming person in the room, but if you don’t prepare, you’ll get out hustled. There are common signs you are interested in a job; Did you research the company? Are you able to explain your resume? Think about what else are they looking for. Everyone wants an edge over the competition. Not everyone is great at interviewing, or thinking on their feet. Use these tools to improve your chances of wowing your interview panel.
1. The Job
Study the job description. See what they need for the position and what they list as “nice to have” skills. After you understand the difference, then get specific with your answers. Highlight how you fit into the ‘must haves’ with tangible examples. Business News Daily elaborated, saying “if you want to say you’re a team player, include a point about how you collaborate with colleagues in other departments to achieve company goals” (Nicole Fallon Taylor). You wouldn’t want to highlight your lack of experience by being vague. For each bullet point have an example ready to explain your expertise in that area. Imagine being asked “tell me about a time…” followed by one of the listed requirements for the job.
2. Don’t Lie
Lying will only waste everyone’s time. If you have to lie right away, the employer will figure it out by the final round. When something listed in the job description is unfamiliar, do some research. Tech Recruiter Sarah Zalzar recommends putting a positive spin on your lack of knowledge, “I haven’t worked with it professionally but because I knew it was a requirement for this job, I did some research”. (Sarah Zalzar). The initiative to learning a new skill could save you a job that you are not qualified for. If it is a learnable skill (i.e. familiarity with excel), watch a youtube video on excel basics. Learn all you can so that you can confidently say that you have been exposed to it. This way you can say you are familiar without lying.
3. Are You Qualified?
Figure out before the anyone else if you are qualified for the job. Learn about the company, their culture, goals, and size to determine if you are a good fit. With close to 900 hires, Verizon Digital Media’s Marketing Recruiter advises: “If you want to impress the recruiter, look at the company’s latest press release/news feature and ask some questions” (Amiyra Luqumaan). It is important to understand the company as much as the position. It shows the interviewer that you have done your research. Have your own elevator pitch if they ask you what you know about the company or why you want to work there. Understanding the company and the job helps you sell yourself better.
4. Research the person
In a scenario where it comes down to you and an equally qualified person, they are probably going to pick the person they like more. Research the person you are speaking to. With social media, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something. Do they have a Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc? Forbes Top 25 Marketing Influencer Aaron Orendorff writes “Of course, you gotta have the goods as well as the relationship”, but “what made the difference was that relationship” (Build Relationships). Keep in mind that this is icing on the cake, it should not be the focus of your interview. If you waste too much time trying to personally connect, you’ll run out of time to tell them how qualified you are. You won’t get hired because they like you, but if it’s a close call, it could make the difference.
After leaving an interview you should feel good. Whether you get the job or not is still to be determined. Having a good interview doesn’t always guarantee the job, but it will prepare more for the next one. Although you always want to get each job, sometimes it is just a stepping stone for the next opportunity. Each interview is practice for perfecting your interviewing skills. This guide is here to help make sure you don’t miss out on an opportunity because you weren’t prepared.