You got the interview, but let’s face the facts: dressing to impress just doesn’t cut it anymore. You might look good, you might feel confident, but can you nail the toughest interview questions without the right credentials and preparation?
What’s the best way to prepare for an interview? How do you know if you have the best answers for those tough interview questions? Why should they hire you above any other candidate?
Here are some of the top interview tips for standing out from other candidates for that position you’ve always dreamt about:
Prepare for an interview by doing your homework. Before going into an interview, ask yourself what you really know about the company. What is their mission? What is their day-to-day like? What about the culture of the workplace and its employees? If you can’t answer any of those, chances are you haven’t quite done your homework. Research everything you can about the company. Look into the logistics of the position (regarding anything from pay to daily responsibilities and potential for growth), and any challenges that you may face in such a position. If you know about the role, you can better take on the role.
Anecdotes give you a higher edge than just reciting your resume. Personalize your interview with something that may not be found on your resume. Talk about an experience you had, or a challenge you had to overcome with your current company, a student organization or club on campus, etc. It will set you apart from the people who read what’s on their resume when the interviewer says, “Tell me a little about yourself and your background or any experience you might have.”
If this doesn’t fit the job you are interviewing for or you don’t feel confident giving this type of response, talk about your familiarity with the company through word of mouth, social media, or personal experience. Here’s a good example: I recently interviewed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Cincinnati Pops for a Communications/Multimedia Assistant position. One of the questions that came up in the interview was why this position, what drew me to this job? My response was simple: I had followed the Orchestra and Pops since my childhood when we used to attend the summer Concert on the Green at my grandpa’s work. Not even three days later, I was offered the job. Simple connections like that can be the difference between making and breaking your interview!
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be cocky going into an interview, but don’t underestimate yourself. Focus on what you to the table. What new ideas, fresh perspective, and set of skills do you bring that they may not have been seen before? Tell them about your leadership skills, versatility, attention to detail, and things of that nature, but don’t hesitate to speak up when you are uncomfortable with a certain task or may not be as knowledgeable as another. This shows room for growth and educational opportunities that many companies (especially growing companies) see as a plus.
The first and last impressions are the most important. No matter how corny you feel doing it, rehearse the first 30 seconds of any possible interview in front of a mirror or with a friend. The first 30 seconds of an interview are the most important when making an impression on an employer. Believe it or not, that short amount of time shows your personality, intelligence level, and the establishment of confidence in yourself. The last 30 seconds are just as important. Follow up with potential questions, concerns, and thank the interviewer for their time. When practicing this, make any adjustments and take open criticism so you nail the actual interview.
While your clothes and overall presentation might be nice, those won’t always be your shoe-in on an important interview. Hone in on your individualized skills, use personal experiences, and go in with a positive mindset, and you’re sure to stand out from the rest! Welcome to the real world, and may the odds be ever in your favor.