I get questions on how to rock interviews, how to make a good impression, what to wear, how to communicate, confidence boosters, and so on.
In my previous post on getting over the fear of interviews, I mentioned how I love interviews and do a good job at selling myself well because in the past, I got way too many interviews than job offers.
But in this post, I want to share 7 tips on how you can really shine in front of the hiring managers so that you are seen as one of the top candidates for the position you're after.
1. Craft a brilliant narrative.
My oh my. Looking back on all the acquaintances and long term relationships I've made, I believe what sealed the deal was the first impression from the very first minutes of talking with them.
The best way to impress that top executive or hiring manager sitting in front of you is to have a killer introduction.
My advice for that is to pick something that summarizes what you've done so far (school + experience), the results you've gotten, and how you're looking to replicate that in a new organization. To put it together, I love going for the statement: "...at the moment, I'm hoping to transition into...."
2. Take strategic pauses during your conversation
They'll usually have a bottle of water available for you. But if not, have one with you. Apart from the fact that you might get thirsty, it is a good way to take occasional sips just to gather your thoughts (my journalism/mass communication class experience).
Communication is only colorful when you allow strategic pauses in order to allow both you and the hiring manager to think in-between questions and answers. And you know what? It positions you as someone who is in control of himself or herself.
When you're too hasty in answering questions, you might come across as not thoughtful enough, and you might not be able to detect leading questions or poorly constructed questions.
3. Don't take it TOO seriously.
It goes without saying that you should always see any interview as a two-way conversation. An awesome way to express your thoughts, to understand, be understood, and connect with others.
Expression: Every conversation should be about speaking a common and shared language. No jargon is allowed unless that is what is commonly used at the organization, and if it is essential to fulfill your job responsibilities.
Understand and be understood: It's the same as expression but here, you want to make sure that what you're communicating is being understood the way you intend. You want to make sure that others see you the way you see yourself.
Connect with others: Think about their needs. Their pain. Their struggles. Think vulnerability. Every conversation you have with a recruiter should make them want to have you. You have to connect with them emotionally, not just logically to make them want to have you NOW.
Communicate both your strengths and what they stand to lose by leaving that position open for too long. We're cheating here, I know!
For example, as a business owner and a graduate student, if someone starts talking about organization and self-care, and what health tips I'm currently missing out on...even without making any pitch, I'd want to listen from start to finish because they're talking to me. So what's the deal here? It's all about them (hiring manager, organization, company, etc)!
Think of how you can make this connection. What things do the company care about?
Random: During an interview with a company president, Mr. CEO asked me what type of tree I'd love to be if I had superpowers. Like seriously? I thought long and hard and I said "an iroko tree." Long and cringy story. Don't ask!
4. Think deeply about your core values.
They want to know that you have leadership/communication skills and can amplify your voice when the need arises. In my case, Mr. CEO wanted to know what stability meant to me. He asked me, "where is home for you?"
You might be asked questions that seem trifling or nonsensical. However, ponder those questions carefully. They aren't necessarily trick questions but they are designed to know if you're a critical thinker or not. Now, don't ask me if it is legal to pose such questions during interviews. I have no answer to that. But I know how to navigate them.
5. Don't recite your resume. They already have it.
Instead, look for situations where you shined bright like a diamond in your previous positions. What was the problem you encountered? How did you solve it? Was it solvable? If not, what lessons did you learn?
6. The weakness question.
Follow step #5. But here, pick a personal flaw you're currently working on.
7. Think about the company values (BIGGIE!).
What does Mr/Mrs. CEO value in his employees? Research! If he/she values human relations over analytics, make sure you let that shine through in your interview.
These are some of my biggest tips on how to make a good impression during interviews. What stage of the job application process do you struggle with?