Discovering these secrets to a successful job interview helped me get hired. I thought I should share with you so that you can ace your next interview.
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Like many people, I would get frustrated every time I went for an interview and never got feedback. I got a few responses that I would be excited over but then after seeing the word “unfortunately”, I knew what was coming next. Those regret emails had become dreadful such that I stopped hoping for a positive response. But I had to make a change, I had to get my dream job.
I was very intentional about it. Therefore, I decided to research thoroughly about winning in interviews. I learned a few strategies that have been working out well for me. When I look at my inbox, the number of rejection emails has dropped drastically. I’m now getting job offers.
These are the interview tips that I employed and they produced amazing results.
Making a good first impression
For any job interview, a positive first impression is everything. A first impression is an initial consideration or judgment someone makes of you when they first interact with you. This judgment can be determined by how you dress, how you speak, your body language and the energy you fend off.
One of the most important skills that I had to develop when going for an interview is self-awareness. In an interview, presentation can impact the decision that the recruiter makes.
Have you ever walked into an exam room that you know you’re not well prepared for?
I’ve found that when I was well prepared for the interview, I always exuded confidence and was generally relaxed because I had little to worry about. On the contrary, when I went unprepared, worry would make me fidget and show discomfort. Sometimes I’d even zone out without knowing because my attention was fixed on my unpreparedness.
With good preparation, I found out that I would speak confidently, coherently and command attention. Psychologically, I was stable enough to answer even unexpected questions. Sometimes the interviewers would throw curve balls and preparation helped me answer them sufficiently.
Research is a gem that I learned to exploit. I’d research thoroughly about the company before the interview. That way the recruiters and I were always on the same page. When they would tell me to ask questions, they’d be so surprised by my knowledge of their company. The background research also helped me show the interviewers how my skills and competence merge with their needs.
The dressing is a message all by itself. That’s why the cliché “You’re addressed by how you’re dressed” still holds. Experts at Indeed say that you should not only dress professionally but also appropriately for the industry you’re applying to.
I learned that how my dressing shows how I perceive my brand. My research revealed a job interview secret that I hadn't been keen on - the recruiter uses dressing as a reference point to project how I’ll represent the company as a brand if I get the position.
Dressing is one of the aspects that I don’t compromise because I don’t want the focus of the interview to be my dressing. When you dress appropriately for the interview. The focus is on your qualifications.
Always being punctual
How would you feel if you organized a first date and the person showed up late? Automatically that disqualifies them from ever getting invited to another. Similarly, when it comes to an interview, I view it as a date with the employer. As such, I ensured that I showed up at least 15 minutes earlier for all the interviews I was invited for.
Photo credit: Freepik
Maintaining eye contact
Sometimes it can be jarring and uncomfortable to keep staring at a person. But I have to show that I’m interested and confident. That’s why I always ensured that I maintained good eye contact with my interviewers. And while responding to the questions, I also looked at the entire panel so that others don’t feel alienated.
When I was doing my research on the best interview practices, I learned that skewed eye contact on one person could show that you’re isolating the rest of the team.
A greeting is very important. Every time I walked into an interview room I’d ensure that I greeted all the interviewers. This is to ensure that they all see me and I get to have a one on one encounter with each of the recruiters.
Focusing on likeability
According to Jessica Fender, professionalism and also likeability will get you the job after an interview. The resume shows that a person is qualified but your personality needs to be the key that gives you the edge among other equally qualified candidates.
How I ensure that I maintain the edge
Remember how I ensured that I greeted each interviewer? The intention was to know each one of them by name and master those names. That way, during the interview I referred to each of them by their name. And like the Kirk Franklin song, I smile at them.
I ensured that I give short stories as I explain my points so that I captivate the hearers while at the same time being precise. You don’t want to come off as boring and too talkative.
Adopting an attitude of positivity
I am a glass-half-full person. My goal was always to ensure that I give off positive energy. Being likable means you speak positively about people, circumstances and even your shortcomings. For example “I take time to finish some assignments because I have to ensure that I submit work that doesn’t have even punctuation mistakes.”
Avoiding rehearsed answers
The internet is filled with appropriate/expected responses for interview questions that you might be asked. Many people master these answers and repeat them during the interview. It sounds bland and inorganic.
Preparation is the key and it worked each time I went for an interview. Sometimes recruiters would ask unexpected questions. With proper preparation, I answered the questions with composure.
Often, interviewers threw curveballs by asking questions that I’ve never encountered in life. Being mentally prepared always helped me answer honestly and with a positive attitude.
Career experts agree that if you’re asked hard questions such as addressing employment gaps or the reason you were dismissed from a previous job, honesty is always the best policy.
Ask unforgettable questions
You can only ask questions that leave the interviewers talking if you’ve prepared enough. Having done thorough background research about the company I’d gather enough information. With that background, I would ask very specific questions about the company.
One time, after asking a question, the interviewer asked me, “How did you know that?” They were so impressed that they called me back with an offer two days later.
A talent manager once told me that when I show the knowledge I have of the company, it tells them that I’m passionate and eager to work for that company.
So far what has worked for me is to have that unique selling point. I always think about how other people are likely to respond to questions asked. And that always helps me to figure out how I’ll be different from the crowd.
The trick is to balance between my qualifications and having that edge.