5 Tips To Ace Your Interview – Part 1
Interview Prep Has Never Been Easier
Now that you’re sending out a perfectly tailored resume, let’s prepare you for the next part of the process: interviews.
There’s a great quote attributed to both Oscar Wilde and Will Rogers: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Interviewing can be incredibly nerve-wracking, especially when you badly need a job. That’s why it’s so important to keep cool, calm, and collected. The advice below will help you get there. Take it to heart.
A quick note: this article will be divided into two pieces. There’s a lot of information to digest and we don’t necessarily want to overwhelm you – so hang tight for a link to part 2!
We’ve spoken with clients, and many of them hire for culture fit and soft skills first, as opposed to technical skills. Clients feel technical skills can be learned, while culture fit and soft skills are considerably harder to teach.
Soft skills refer to your interpersonal interactions. Do you communicate clearly? How do you handle yourself in stressful situations? Will you work well in a team? These are all soft skills, and can easily be assessed in an interview. That’s where preparation comes in.
You’ll have to talk about yourself, your career, and your accomplishments. So, come up with the highlight reel of you, and rehearse it. Depending on the person interviewing you, they may not have looked at your resume yet. As such, you may need to answer questions multiple times and go into a lot of detail. Know what’s on your resume, and be prepared to talk about it.
To get an idea of what you’ll be asked, get thee to Glassdoor’s interviews section, type in the company name, and go! Smaller companies may not have a ton of info, but bigger companies usually garner a fair amount of reviews / interview information. You should be able to get an idea of what to expect from that, so you can start familiarizing yourself and formulating thorough answers.
There are definitely ‘typical’ questions that employers ask (the dreaded situational questions). It’s good to prepare answers to these questions – they are likely to be asked at some point, especially if you have multiple interviews with different folks. Here are examples:
- Tell me about a time when you faced a project scope change during execution. How did you communicate the change? Was the change implemented successfully?
- Provide an example of when you or your team made a project mistake. What happened? How did you handle it?
- How do you prioritize your responsibilities each day or week? Why?
- Explain a time when you needed assistance on a project.
- Describe a situation you’ve encountered with a difficult person. What was the issue? How was it resolved?
System One Recruiting Manager Fitzroy Folkes agrees: “I always encourage candidates to be prepared for their interview, whether on the phone or in-person. It’s important that candidates relate their experience to the position, explain why they are interested in it, and what they will bring to the table.”
Do Your Homework, And Ask Questions
Prior to your interview, go to the company’s website and social media. Make sure you truly understand what the company does. Read up on their vision and mission statements. Research the company’s products and/or services. Read about their community involvement and philanthropic efforts.
Ginny Walz, Recruiting Director of System One’s Joulé division, also recommends checking out your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile so that you can learn about them, their career progression, and how long they’ve been at the company.
With this research, you’ll impress your interviewer by asking them specific questions about the company, the product, or service. It will be easier to demonstrate how your skills (and personality/culture) can help them achieve their goals. Ask these questions:
- I saw what you’re involved with X charity. How does their mission speak to you?
- You’ve been with the company for X years. What keeps you here? What are your favorite parts of working here? Can you tell me about your career progression?
- Why is this position open? Is it a new opening due to growth, or did someone leave?
- I love your flagship product. Have you thought about adding X feature?
It’s always refreshing to meet with a candidate who spent some time learning about the company. As much as they’re interviewing you, you’re interviewing them. And, by researching them thoroughly, you’re obtaining information that will help you confirm if the company is a good fit for you too.
Part 2 To Come Soon!
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we don’t want to overwhelm you. This is a lot of information to digest, so we’ll stop here for now. Research companies, get a feel for their culture, come up with your own personal career elevator pitch, and practice, practice, practice!
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