As a 17 year veteran of the recruiting field, I’ve had the opportunity to send candidates on thousands of interviews with DC Metro area companies. Out of all of these candidates, I would consider only a handful of them to be a “natural” at the art of interviewing. The “naturals” innately understand how to say, and ask the right thing at the right time and, therefore, consistently receive job offers. If you aren’t a “natural” interviewee, don’t fret. The vast majority of people aren’t. Effective interviewing is a learned skill and with some proper guidance and preparation, you can ace your next interview. Below are my top 3 keys to landing your next job offer:
1) Have the right interview mentality.
I frequently tell candidates that it’s not always the most qualified candidate that gets the job offer. It’s typically the candidate that can effectively communicate why they are the best fit for the position and company culture and also convince the employer that they want to work for them. Seems simple right? What weak interviewees often overlook is the negative impact that poor non-verbal communication can have on the employer’s impression of you. The employer will notice if you slouch your shoulders or look down at the table when you hear an aspect of the role you don’t like. A great way to reduce the likelihood of poor nonverbal communication is to approach the interview with the right mentality. Evaluate the opportunity after the interview, not during it. This approach will focus you on the right elements of the interview and help you to, verbally and non-verbally, convince the employer to make you a job offer.
2) Ask the right questions.
Most interview guides focus on preparing you for employers’ questions. While that is certainly important, I find that it is just as essential for the candidate to ask good questions. The quality of your questions can indicate to the employer that you are intelligent, prepared and genuinely interested in the position. More specifically, it is imperative that you ask questions that identify what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate and where they need the most help. Examples of strong questions are; “What are the ideal attributes you look for in someone to be successful here?” and “What do you see as the biggest challenges of the position and the department?” The responses to these types of questions will also give you the opportunity to further sell why you are a fit for the role.
3) Sell your VALUE.
When it comes to interviewing, your value equates to the positive impact you’ve had on current or previous employers. I’m not talking about being a “hard worker” or “people person”. You need to think of skills you’ve used to make, save, or achieve. Your goal should be to get the employer to envision you in their open position helping them achieve their department’s goals. Examples of your “value” as an employee could be, “I’m an accounting software guru. At my last employer I helped improve the functionality of the software which ended up shaving 2 days off the monthly close” or “I’m a strong leader. At my last employer, I was handpicked to manage a key project because of my ability to effectively communicate. We were able to finish the project ahead of schedule.”
By Jay Gennaro, Principal, Avanti Group