When it comes to preparing for a job interview, there's more to it than simply memorizing answers and rehearsing your resume.
An interview is about expressing who you are and how you think.
The interview process can sometimes feel like deciphering a unique code – reading the interviewer's cues, understanding the interview dynamics, and finding the right balance between showcasing your skills and being yourself. You’re in the hot seat and no matter how skilled and experienced you might be as an interviewee, it can be a bit unnerving walking into this type of situation, especially when you're eager to make a positive impression and secure the job opportunity you desire.
Rather than overwhelming you with a rigid script, I believe in providing candidates with ideas that encourage authenticity. The goal is for you to shine as your true self, expressing your thoughts and experiences confidently. While I don't advocate for excessive preparation, I do recommend a simple and effective approach.
Here are five of my favorite tips to ensure an authentic and enjoyable interview experience:
1. Research: Delve into the company's background and learn about the role you're interviewing for. Even if you're not entirely clear on every aspect of the position, demonstrate your understanding based on your research. Explore articles, reports, and any content authored by your interviewer to gain insights that will help you feel at ease and well-informed.
2. Organize: Consider these key questions – answering them will equip you to handle a variety of interview scenarios:
Describe a situation where you approached a challenge differently and how you resolved it.
Share an instance when you solved a problem creatively.
Reflect on what you find most challenging or difficult.
Narrate a time when things didn't go as planned and how you managed it.
Highlight your sweet spots - your areas of expertise and your strengths.
3. Concise Communication and Active Listening: A successful interview is marked by engaging two-way communication. Strike a balance between sharing relevant details and actively listening to your interviewer. Practice articulating your experiences clearly, ensuring your responses are both informative and easy to understand.
4. Seek Guidance: Reach out to your interview team for insight and guidance. Whether it's an internal recruiter, HR professional, or hiring lead, or maybe it's me, leverage their expertise to gain a deeper understanding of the role, the team, and the company culture. Ask questions about the interviewer's background and priorities – this proactive approach shows your genuine interest and preparation. Here are some questions I ask when I'm supporting one of my candidates:
Name of your interviewer
What is their role is in relation to the position?
Why they are hiring?
What is the structure of the team and what are the growth plans?
How long has the role been open:
What is the culture like on the team?
Is there anything about this person that would provide more context before your interview, such as:
How long have they been with the company
Review their LinkedIn profile and look for things you can talk to them about.
If they’d be open to sharing this with you, ask them what they value and feel is important in the hiring of the candidate, their priorities, what skills matter most to them in this role.
5. Thoughtful Follow-Up: After the interview, take the time to send a personalized follow-up note. Keep it concise and friendly, mentioning a memorable aspect of the discussion or any insights you gained during the meeting. This thoughtful gesture reinforces your enthusiasm and consideration.
Remember, preparing for an interview is about showcasing your authentic self, highlighting your experiences, and engaging in meaningful conversations. By embracing these tips, you'll be better equipped to approach your interview with confidence and leave a lasting impression.
Good luck on your journey to success! Let me know in the comments below if this was helpful.
Ask for insight/guidance from your interview team (this might be an internal recruiter/ HR professional or hiring lead). You may not always have an advocate but if you do, leverage their support and insight. I like to provide this type of support to the candidates I represent. Questions you can ask are:
-Name of your interviewer, what their role is in relation to the position and why they are hiring
-What is the structure of the team and what are the growth plans?
-how long has the role been open
-What is the culture like on the team
-Anything about this person that would provide more context before your interview – how long with the company, linked in profile, and if they’d be open to sharing this with you, what they value and feel is important in the hiring of this candidate, priorities, what matters.
Always follow up with a personal note. In this note it can be concise and friendly and ideally mention something from the meeting that was memorable for you, whether it be something about the company, the role or something you discussed on a personal level.