The hiring landscape continues to be competitive. Securing interviews and converting them into job offers remains challenging in this current state of the economy.
The hiring experts at AdHires are here to share some tips to help you better prepare for your next interview.
- Bring a professional binder with you that includes: a notepad, at least 4 copies of your resume, and a professional pen. If you bring work samples, ensure you have everything organized in an easy to find way.
- Arrive on time. Remember you cannot predict traffic or construction delays, but you can decide when to leave. Make sure you arrive with more than enough time to catch up on any last-minute notes. Try to avoid walking into the interview more than 15 minutes early. 5-10 minutes early will suffice.
- If this is a phone interview, make sure there is no background noise and that your phone has strong reception. Be sure to avoid answering the call without stating your name. Try “This is Vincent”, or “Hello, Vincent speaking”. This ensures the hiring manager connected with the right person and confirms the proper pronunciation of your first name.
- You only have one chance to make a first impression. Plan a strong opening statement beforehand. For example, “XXX I just wanted to thank you for your time to meet with me today. I extensively reviewed the job description and your company’s website and am excited to correlate my experiences to your needs. How would you like to begin?
- You should study several hours for each of your interviews. An interviewer may think one way to determine your capabilities and work ethic is by assessing the amount of research and dedication you have put into preparing for this meeting. An effective way to prepare yourself for an interview is to assign each sentence in the job description a bullet point and write a direct comparison of your experience, strengths, or an accomplishment for each one.
- Be ready to discuss everything listed on the job description in addition to your background in its entirety. Even if you do not have a specific skill listed in the description, research it enough prior to be able to speak about it when asked. For example, instead of saying “No, I have not used QuickBooks,” say “I have not had the opportunity to utilize QuickBooks, but I have used other accounting software such as, XXX. Using that helped me achieve YYY. I also have a strong technical aptitude and a keen sense for picking up new technology skills.” Or “I have not used QuickBooks professionally, but I have a strong understanding of its functions, and I feel if given the opportunity, I would be able to pick it up rather quickly.”
When the interview is beginning to wrap up, be sure to thank them for their time and close the conversation by sharing your interest level. Address any concerns they may have by using this line: “After speaking with you today, I feel that I would be a great fit for the role and organization. Are there any concerns about my background or skillset you would like to discuss further?”
This gives you the opportunity for a final attempt to address anything that may get in the way of you securing an offer. Also, it can give you the chance to hear feedback and allow you to gauge where you stand in the process.
The Dreaded Salary Question:
If the topic of compensation makes its way into the interview, your goal is to attempt to bypass the question by avoiding sharing specific numbers. Say something like “For an opportunity to be a part of this organization, I would highly consider a competitive offer which factors in my experience and expertise”.
It is common for the interviewer to want a better understanding your salary expectations. If you are asked twice, feel free to share a salary that is market competitive in your line of work and geography. There are tons of incredible resources online that provide these salary ranges but make sure you reiterate flexibility for the right opportunity. You always want to give yourself the opportunity to revisit this conversation later if the number you share is outside of their range.
Seven Key Things to Remember:
- Keep positive impact in mind. How can you contribute to their business in a way another candidate may fall short? Tell them about the value you bring, not only through your experience, but through your accomplishments.
- Remember the position for which you are interviewing. Keep the conversation about the role and organization. For example, if you are interviewing for a position in the Marketing department, avoid saying that your goal is to get into Finance. The hiring manager always wants to make sure you are not looking too far past the open role. This also applies to contract or temporary openings. There is nothing wrong with letting them know you are ambitious, but you want to do it in a way that doesn’t leave the impression you will leave quickly if advancement does not materialize immediately.
- Try to make every interview an interactive conversation instead of a standard Q&A. Always feel free to ask meaningful questions throughout the entire dialogue.
- Keep your answers concise, organized, and to the point. Many people tend to over-talk when they are nervous.
- Avoid speaking negatively about your former employers, coworkers, and managers. Positivity is always well-received.
- If a question comes up for which you cannot think of an answer, avoid letting it slow down the interview. Simply say “If you don’t mind, could I please think that through after we wrap up and get back to you right away?”
- Always Ask Questions. Here are a few examples to start with:
“If I were to start today what would be my most pressing task?”
This allows you to gauge the main responsibility of the position and has the hiring manager envisioning you in the role.
“Tell me about the culture of the organization and team?”
This shows your interest level in being aligned with the business and not just the position itself.
“Could you elaborate on any responsibilities outside of the job description?”
This shows your motivation and initiative to go above and beyond.
These tips should increase the probability of you turning your next interview into a job offer. Be sure to browse the open positions at jobs.adhires.com to put these new interview skills to work!