How To Interview Like A Like a ProInterviews can be intense, but with our help you'll be handling them with ease.
Cover letter? Check
App sent in on time? Check
You’re one step closer to landing that dream position…
…except now you have to prepare for an interview. Yikes! Nerve-wracking, huh? Don’t worry — as a career prep expert, I’m here to walk you through three major pointers. You’ll be sure to nail your interview and impress your potential employer.
But before we begin, did you know we have a completely free and downloadable career guide? Inside you’ll find advice and tips to guide you through your career journey. Get yours today!
1. Flexibility and Authenticity: find your balance in an interview
“What a coincidence! My specific strengths are exactly what you’re looking for!”
We’re all trained to tell an interviewer what we think they want to hear. How many times have you been told to manipulate your experience to fit exactly what’s listed on a job description? And while this isn’t the worst piece of advice — you’ll always want to sell your strengths and show how you’re the best fit for the position. This can also result in some pretty phony-sounding interviews.
A major breakthrough in my own professional life was learning how to be my authentic self in an interview while making sure the hiring manager knew I was up for any challenge. Maybe you don’t have the exact hard skill the job is looking for, but you can remember a time when you quickly adapted to a complicated software system. Maybe organizational skills aren’t your #1 strength, but you developed a really awesome system for keeping yourself on top of tasks at your last job.
“A major breakthrough in my own professional life was learning how to be my authentic self”
Don’t be afraid to let the real you shine through in an interview, even if that means admitting when something doesn’t come naturally to you. An interview is your chance to be more than just your resume and cover letter — it’s your chance to be a human!
2. Come prepared with examples — the “how” is greater than the “what”
You elementary school Language Arts teacher may have given you this same piece of advice — “don’t tell me what you did, tell me how you did it.” This rings so true for an interview setting. Your resume will have already told your interviewer what roles you’ve played. Your cover letter will have helped them understand what you’ve accomplished.
An interview gives you the opportunity to show how you’ve accomplished your goals. How you overcame adversity in the workplace, how you adjusted to an interpersonal challenge, how you worked independently or became a leader in your volunteering position. Your interviewer will know that you aced your higher-level digital marketing class, but they wont know how you challenged yourself to be a great student. Or, how you’ve used that knowledge outside of the classroom.
Explaining the how is going to give your interviewer a better sense of you as a well-rounded professional, which can be crucial in helping you beat out other qualified applicants to secure the position.
3. “Do you have any questions” — absolutely you do!
I can promise you that no matter where you are and no matter what position you’re interviewing for, your interviewer will always ask you the same thing: Do you have any questions?
Is this because the interviewer is kind, considerate, and wants to make sure you have all of the information you need? Well, sure. But this portion of the interview is actually…your final interview question! I know, plot twist.
If you have no questions at the end of an interview, you’re saying to the hiring committee: I’m not thinking critically about this position. I’m not a curious candidate, and I believe I have all of the information I could ever possibly need or want about this job and this company. And while that’s probably not true, without thoughtful questions at the end of an interview, you’re leaving the committee with a bad impression.
The best questions you can ask at the end of an interview are ones that actually help you highlight your strengths.
Here are a few tried-and-true questions that’ll end your interview on a high note:
- What are the biggest challenges that past employees have faced in this position?
- What has helped employees be most successful in this role before?
- Can you give some examples of what the person to last hold this job did well, and what they lacked?
- How do you see this position fitting in with the larger mission of the company/organization?
- How are you hoping to see this position grow in the future?
All of these questions accomplish the same couple of thing. They help you address the challenges of the position (and how you’d overcome them). They also help you confirm why you’re the right candidate for the job.