The time has arrived. It’s your chance to earn an interview with Super-Fantastic-Dream-Company and you don’t want to screw it up. You’ve heard all of the advice about how to calm your nerves, conduct background checks on the company before sending anything, and to keep in touch afterward to continue the conversation, but you still wonder what more you will need to know as you go through the application and interview process.
While the tactics listed above are sure to help you ace your interview, the following tips below expand upon those provided to give you additional advice you may need to truly stand out from the moment you apply.
Don’t Just Write Your Cover Letter, Be Your Cover Letter
The cover letter is your chance to explain why you are exceptional for a particular position—make sure it showcases your unique personality, as well as the unique personality of the company.
- Cover Letter Do: Reference specific company services, resources, and more in your cover letter.
- Cover Letter Don’t: Mass produce your letter and send the same one to every company you apply to for a job. Trust me, hiring decision makers can tell the difference.
After your well-written, company-specific cover letter has secured you an interview slot, remember what you said so you can repurpose those cover letter bullet points into interview talking points later.
Always address what makes you unique, why you want this position with this company (not just any job that you can get) and what you can bring to the table that no one else can.
Once there, don’t let there be a disconnect between what is written about you on paper, what your online brand says about you, and what comes into the conference room. Become an embodiment of your personal brand to showcase the real you to your future employer.
Beware of The Hidden Decision Maker
A favorite test of many: the receptionist test. In this scenario, the person that interviews you asks the receptionist how you were during the time you had to wait for the interview to begin. Yes, you will be evaluated even during that lobby hang out time when you thought no one was watching.
Were you antsy? Difficult? Confident? Friendly?
While those who interview you will surely have the final say, don’t make the mistake of thinking their opinions will be the only ones heard before your hire. You never know whose opinion can make or break the final decision.
Being unapproachable in the lobby, or rude to people that you don’t think you have to impress can wreck even the best interviewee’s chances.
Be friendly and personable to each person you meet from the moment you open the building’s door, that day and always. Make that rockstar impression that leaves more than your interviewer saying, “we need that person on our team.”
Answer Questions like a STAR: Highlight the Why, Not The What
We know interviewers like to ask the tough questions, those that are made to make us think and provide them with the information they need to make a final decision.
For every item you discuss with your interviewer, don’t just highlight what you did, but use the opportunity as a time to showcase why you did it.
To help with this, tie projects and assignments completed to larger goals, or a higher purpose and passion, whenever possible. Go a step further and explain why you took on a project or chose to assist a particular company in the first place.
Once you know what you want to say, form your response with the help of the STAR method:
- State the situation.
- Introduce the task.
- Explain how you completed it and why—what was the action?
- Note the result of your efforts.
Be professional, insightful and transparent in your interview. Prove to your interviewer why you’re there and why you're a good fit for the position, and both parties will be able to call the interview a success.
Have any more tips or additional interview insights to add to the list? Let us know in the comment section below.