In the last five years I have been interviewed 6 times. And I earned a promotion 5 out of 6 of those times. Pretty good record, huh? I also have conducted about 15-20 interviews, give or take.To be honest it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I was given the best advice of all. Your interview, is up to you. If there is an opportunity that you feel you are the best candidate for, you need to prepare yourself. And you need to make sure that through your interview, your interviewer knows that you are prepared for this new role.
Cool, but how? On most occasions, your interview is going to composed of certain types of questions. There may be some icebreaker questions in the beginning.
- What made you apply for this role?
- How are you the best candidate?
- What sets you apart form everybody else?
- Tell me about yourself. (Tip: they do not want to know your favorite dessert and what you do for fun)
In these questions they are trying to get a feel for who you are and how you are going to contribute to their team/company. They want to know why you applied and what you are looking for. They want to make sure that not only are you a good fit for their team and culture of the company, but they also want to make sure they are a good fit for you and your skills. They want to know why you are special. What skills do you possess? Any special schooling or courses that may be beneficial. And how do these skills make you the best candidate. In order to answer any of these questions, you need to do the research on what all this role is about. What are the expectations and requirements?
Next you will be asked behavioral based questions.
- Tell me about a time when…
- Describe to me a project
- Tell me about how…
In these questions, they are looking for specific examples told in a story form. Let’s break that down. You need to focus on a specific example. While explaining that situation, you need to make sure you have a beginning (what is the situation?), middle (how did you put your skills to use to resolve the situation?), and end (what was the outcome?). Now after you have all of those there are a few things you can/should incorporate. Once you finished your story, you should tie in how that situation/learning experience will benefit you in this new role. Research the companies core values. You can tie that in at the end as well.
Example of an ending would be: …The outcome was very positive and the customer wrote a great review. Being able to provide great customer service will benefit me in this new role because I noticed one of your core values is that the way customers are treated, determines whether they come back. Note: DO NOT TELL A STORY THAT DOES NOT HAVE A POSITIVE OUTCOME. You don’t want to tell them you made an independent decision and you were terminated for it. That’s no bueno.
You can easily Google behavioral based questions and think of examples before your interview. Once you have great examples and stories, practice. Rehearse. Say them out loud. Sometimes, things sound great in our heads but once the words leave our mouths, it’s a different story. You want to practice to the point where it sounds fluent but not rehearsed or robotic.
At the very end of the interview, your interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. The answer is YES! You should have 2-3 great questions prepared for the interviewers. For the love of Pete (whoever he is), do not ask personal questions. Questions to ask could be:
- What are the challenges you have noticed external candidates face in their first three months?
- What does the growth of this department look like?
- What is the general culture of the company?
The goal here is to do the same thing they have been doing this whole time. You know you are the best candidate for them, but are they the best for you? Is this new role going to be a great fit for your life? Remember, this is not an interrogation. But, more of a chance for you to ask what they haven’t answered.
Lastly, you will need a closing statement of sorts. This is your time to shine. You will want to tell them about any skills that they haven’t discovered throughout your interview. This is not about your resume. They should have that because you had it printed and gave them a copy when you shook their hand as you entered the room. This is your chance to wrap everything up, give a few reminders, and put the most fantastic bow on your interview. You know, seal the deal?
You’ve got this! If you have any interview questions that you are stuck on or need help with, comment below and I will help you out. I know people who don’t need any practice. And then there are people like me who practice, get anxious, practice some more and deliver great! And then there are people who practice, get anxious, practice, and don’t do so hot. It is normal!! You are not going to ace every single interview all the time. Shit happens. But practicing and preparing yourself can make all the difference. It is nobody’s responsibility, but yours.