Behold the ninja, highly trained, laser-focused, keenly aware, swift, cunning, and single-minded in purpose–to emerge the victor. Follow these eight steps for a flawless interview and your competition won’t stand a chance; it’s unfair, really.
I’ve been on both sides of the interview, owning two businesses for over two decades, and interviewing as a candidate myself. My most exhausting interview was two and a half hours long, with five different interviewers. Now, as a career development/interview coach, I’ve helped many who’ve struggled with interviews to become exceptional and go on to have multiple job offers; here’s how you can, too.
You should thoroughly research both the company and the interviewer.
Believe it not, 47% of managers eliminate a candidate because they have little to no knowledge of the company. Nearly half of all candidates go into an interview with almost no knowledge of the company and what they do. Your analysis of the company should include its website, LinkedIn, Bloomberg, Google, Glassdoor reviews, all social media, and Wikipedia. Also, scrutinize their competition and understand what differentiates it. Just doing this will put you ahead of half of your competitors.
Cultural fit is the single most important hiring factor, as reported by 43% of managers. Research the person or persons who’ll be interviewing you. Find out as much as you can through the company website and social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. What are their interests: fishing, cooking, camping? What are your mutual interests? These will be good talking points and will help to make for an excellent cultural fit.
Stand up straight and walk with purpose and confidence — approximately 33% of managers state they’ve eliminated candidates because of bad posture. Perfect your handshake; 25% of candidates don’t get the job because of a weak handshake. Maintain eye contact; a whopping 67% of managers state they’ve eliminated a candidate because they failed to maintain sufficient eye contact.
All of these comprise the first impression. Statistics show that hiring managers typically decide upon a candidate within the first 90 seconds to three minutes. Make a great first impression.
The mirroring technique is the subtle and almost imperceivable fine art of resembling the person that’s interviewing you in both body language and verbal language. Note the picture below; both women have their elbows on the table, are leaning forward, and using low-level hand gestures. Mirroring takes practice. If the person interviewing you uses a lot of hand gestures, you should also. I suggest never matching exactly, but instead going just a couple of levels below, and never above. Vocal mirroring includes pace, volume, and use of vocabulary. If they speak slowly, slow your speaking down. If they talk very fast, you should speak more rapidly. Be careful with volume. If they are extremely loud, speak more loudly, but never match them. They could be hard of hearing. If they’re not, they could see this as a sign of aggression. Matching vocabulary means if they’re using very simple language, you should also. Conversely, if they are speaking and using four-syllable, more complex words, so should you.
Mirroring is exceptionally effective because the person interviewing you will believe that the two of you are much alike. If you’re much alike, then your a tremendous cultural fit.
4. The “Small” Stuff That’s Really Big
The small stuff is important: arrive 15 minutes early, bring three copies of your resume, turn your cell phone off. If you’re able, make small talk with the receptionist if they’re not busy. Remember their name and say it a few times during the conversation. You’ll stand out and remembered favorably. Talk about them, not you, and take a genuine interest.
You’d be shocked to learn that 70% of managers decided against and candidate because they were too fashionably dressed. You may feel quite dapper, and they might hate it. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask about the dress code. Financial institutions are typically quite conservative and expect a black or navy suit. Tech tends to be very casual. Always ask about the dress code.
6. Prepare Quality Question
Your research will guide. Your questions should be well thought out and demonstrate your thinking agility, and knowledge of the company and industry. Include questions specific to the position for which you’re applying.
7. Practice the Question and Answer Portion
Anticipate the questions that could be asked and practice your answers out loud. These include industry questions and the “why should we hire you,” in other words, “what differentiates you from your competition.” Most are aware of the “tell us your worst quality/what’s three things you would change about yourself and why.” The best answers are, “I work too hard/take my work home with me/ will work day and night until a problem is solved-” You get the idea.
Be sure to ask when they’ll be making a decision and with whom to follow up.
8. Follow Up
Follow up, no matter the position is a direct reflection of your work ethic and attention to detail. Get the emails of all who’ve interviewed you. Send “Thank you” emails and include personal data about them that you’ve gathered during that interview. Send this email the same day or the day after.
If you don’t hear from your point of contact on the date they’ve told you they’d make a decision, email them the following day. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask whether they’ve made a decision.
Why not have 2020 be the year you land your dream job?