Slay the Interview PART I: My Top 5 Interview Secrets
I’ve been on numerous interviews. I never get nervous when it comes to interviews. Why? Well, before I let you in on some secrets that have helped me along the way, the #1 thing you need to keep in mind before going into any interview is that it is a two-way street. You and the employer are interviewing each other. Keep that in mind, and you will be fine. It is unreasonable to believe that every job you apply for, you are actually going to like. Take the interview as a pre-cursor for what’s about to come, and decide whether this is a place you will want to spend the majority of your hours each week. You are not below the interviewer or the company, and you are not above them either. And if a particular interview or opportunity does not work out in your favor, it is a learning experience for the next one. No need to take anything personally. Just get out there and show them what they’re missing! But first, practice these tips:
- Really look into the company’s website and social profiles prior to the interview to get a good idea of the company culture and its mission. I know this one might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m not just stopping here after getting a solid cliff-notes understanding of the company. I’m talkin’ find some things that stand out to you to bring up in the interview. These items don’t have to be just things you were impressed by, you could also mention something you noticed and suggest how you could improve it, showing that you are here to bring fresh ideas to the table.
- Find out who you are interviewing for, and seek out information about them on a personal level. That’s right, it’s time to really put those creeping skills to good use (but omit listing this skill on your resume, please). Try to look for some commonalities between you and the interviewer, as this will help you stand out from your competing interviewees. This could be as simple as relating to your interviewer’s passion for playing volleyball, which they noted in their bio on the team page. Remember, anyone can be trained if the hard skills aren’t there, but good, relatable people may be harder to find.
- Memorize and KNOW your interviewer’s full name, so that you can thank them for their time at the end with a solid handshake. Knowing names has more subconscious power than we realize. Think about the number of times someone has remembered your name after the first introduction. It’s probably a number you can count on a single hand. That isn’t many. That is why we remember the people who remember us, because it makes us feel special that we were remembered on the first introduction.
- At the core of it, be honest with your employer and yourself about what you’d like to get out of this opportunity. Ideally you are applying at this company for reasons beyond financial. But if that’s not the case, it may be apparent to your interviewer that your responses to his/her questions are scripted and memorized, therefore making you fall back into the stack of candidates instead of on their mental radar.
- Follow-up email. Another one you’ve probably heard a million times. And for good reason. If you’re serious about the opportunity, chances are you will be wondering often about if and when the hiring manager will reach out to you. You do not have to sit around waiting and twiddling your thumbs forever though. My general rule is reach out on the three-day mark. On the third day after your interview, write up a follow-up email to the hiring manager or person you interviewed with (if you have or can acquire their email) and simply state your thanks for their time, your serious interest in the opportunity, and ask about when you can expect to hear about next steps in the interview process. Nothing less, nothing more. Keep it short and sweet; to the point. No need to kiss ass. Be you, and let it show through your email, but also don’t push it with being too casual. Professional is always the way to go, especially in this circumstance. Good luck!
Those are just a few notes that I keep in my back pocket every time I’m getting set for an interview. If you get past the first interview and they call you in for a second, or even make you an offer, this is when the real fun (and personal growth) begins. Stay tuned for my next blog post which will be on part II of slaying the interview, where I talk about my favorite negotiation tactics. OH YEAH, you know that green siren went off in your head – negotiation means a chance at scoring more moolah – BOOO YEAH!
Until then, good luck in the business world out there and in all your interviews. You got this!
About the Author | LinkedIn
Nicolette Shasky is a creative soul with a specialty in visual storytelling and creative design. She currently works as a Senior Visual Designer at eLearning Mind in San Diego, California.