Land that Dream Job!
So you want that dream job eh?
Well, you have a lot of competition my friend. So you need every edge you can get!
My goal today is to share with you some of the top interviewing tips I’ve learned so far in my career.
I want to preface today’s post by first saying that I have a fair amount of experience with interviews. I’m not just taking this stuff off the internet.
I’ve personally conducted hundreds of interviews, both in person and over the phone. I’ve looked through literally thousands of resumes in the 7 or so years I’ve been in a supervisory or managerial position.
I’ve been a part of interview panels; I’ve often worked with both temp agencies and direct placement agencies. Covering everything from typical staffing positions across all departments and multiple branches, to management-level positions.
#1 – Interviewing is a 2-way street. You’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you. Given that interviewing, for most people, is super stressful and can produce a ton of anxiety, it’s important that you remind yourself that you’re not the only one being evaluated.
#2 – Be confident and value yourself. It makes a big difference. But do this without coming off as arrogant or entitled. There’s a night and day difference between being confident and valuing yourself as someone who can be a genuine contributor, and someone who just comes off as arrogant, entitled or delusional (more-so if you lack experience or the right education).
#3 – Good companies want you to be the right person. You need to realize that good companies want you to be the right person as much, if not more, than you want that company to be the right company. Bad companies might see it as more of a one-way situation; but if that’s the case, you wouldn’t want to work for them anyways.
#4 – Stand out from the crowd as much as you can. I can tell you that after sifting through thousands of resumes, it can get fairly monotonous. Every resume starts looking the same. You start to develop a pet peeve around commonly used buzzwords like “multi-tasker, team player, motivated” and the like. The more you stand out from the barrage of resumes, the better your chances of even being noticed. Going the extra distance, like writing a cover letter. Seriously, sounds like not a big deal. But it’s one more thing that’ll set you apart. Let’s say, if half or more, of the candidate pool don’t write a cover letter, that shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to. Again, the point is to stand out. Be different. Have a higher standard for yourself. Write up something professional. Others will settle, by not going that extra mile, just throwing their resumes around like hot pockets hoping that one will eventually get noticed; but if you want a great job, and not just any ok job, then you need to raise your own standards first.
#5 – Have your resume templates and cover letter templates professionally proof read. And customize these for each place you apply for. These small things make all the difference between landing an entry level job versus competing with highly compensated professionals to grab that higher-paying six-figure job. Don’t just send the same resume to every place. Customize and highlight your experience to fit the job you’re trying to land! Share the projects you might’ve led, initiatives that you might’ve participated in. Things that’ll align with the type of job you’re trying to get.
#6 – Come prepared. Don’t wing it. Check their website, check what they’re about, do some basic research on the industry,. Look up LinkedIn. And try to find the hiring manager or the department head.
#7 – Create a spreadsheet of employers you’ve applied for and have it accessible on your phone. So you can quickly open it up when you get a phone call from a prospective employer. You don’t want to be that candidate who asks “so which company are you calling from again?” or “sorry, where is your company located”? These are very basic things that you should know ahead of time. You should be familiar with the company enough that the name doesn’t throw you off when the hiring person calls you. Not knowing the basics makes you come off as someone who is not a professional and someone who doesn’t care enough to do his/her due diligence.
#8 – If you don’t have the work experience, share other accomplishments. For example, when I got hired into my first entry-level job right out of college, I lacked experience so I brought my 50-page market research paper that I did in college and my senior year business strategy paper and consulting project I did with my team for Jones Soda. You can also share examples of leadership roles you’ve taken in the past, or activities that you’ve done in high school or really even hobbies that show your passion or resourcefulness. For example, I once hired a guy, and the one thing that made him stand out from the other candidates (they all had very similar qualifications) was that he was a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Because commitment to a craft to that level shows dedication and discipline. Again, it might not work for everyone; it may just be a personal thing. But all of this goes back to making sure you stand out from the crowd.
#9 – Try skipping the caffeine prior to an interview. Especially if you’re prone to anxiety. And even if you’re not, it can help keep your heart rate lower. A faster heart rate might make you feel as though you’re more anxious than you actually are. Which may lead to more anxiety. I skip caffeine when doing things like public speaking. Yeah I lose the boost in mental clarity, but it’s been my experience that caffeine makes me feel jittery during high-pressure situations.
#10 – Avoid cliche answers. What I mean by this is, get a little creative. Don’t give canned answers you get from the internet. This is a huge pet peeve among people who are regularly a part of the hiring process. Seriously, everyone does this. It can be helpful to go online to go over all of the most asked questions and the “correct” answers that go with them; but trust me when I say that everyone else is doing that exact same thing. Especially the top 10 google results.
#11 – To the best of your ability, minimize ALL potential red flags. One of the main things hiring people do is to be on the lookout for any red flags. Especially if there are 10 other candidates, just like you, that are functionally capable of taking on the role, it all boils down to fit. Red flags increases risk for the company doing the hiring. And there’s really no need for a company to take on additional unnecessary risks when there are more than one candidate that can functionally do the job.
#12 – If you don’t understand the question. Ask them to clarify, what they meant. Don’t guess if you’re unsure. Do not start going down a tangent that has absolutely no relevancy to the question that was posed.
#13 – If you don’t know an answer to something, don’t make things up. I’m not talking about understanding the nature of the question. I’m talking about not knowing the answer period. Don’t make things up. Admit that you don’t know the answer, but explain how you would go about finding out the answer. This shows honesty, shows resourcefulness, and also shows that you have the mental wherewithal to solve problems.
#14 – Be respectful and give proper attention to every person you encounter. Like the receptionist, because they can be a gate keeper. And if you’re interviewing before a panel, make sure you give eye contact to everyone, not just one or two that you think are the main players. It can come off as very disrespectful. And chances are, if they’re all their interviewing you. They are all important to the hinging process and will absolutely have a say in the matter.
#15 – Read their body language. If your interviewer seems bored, not as engaged, or glancing at the clock, switch it up. Because 9 out of 10 times, this means they’ve already made their decision a while ago. So they might already be mentally clocked out and just going through their questions strictly for protocol. And top of that, chances are, they may have other interviewees lined up. So keep your answers short and precise. Don’t go on any unnecessarily long tangents unless you’re asked to expound.
#16 – The last question most typically asked is “do you have any questions for us.” Stand out from the rest of the crowd by asking “is there anything about me or the answers that I’ve given that I can further clarify? Asking this gives you a second chance at hopefully removing a red flag or give you an opportunity to modify a previous answer that was deemed lacking in some way. Do not ask about benefits and pay, or what your schedule will be at this point in the interview. That should’ve already been covered during your phone interview or application process.
Ok, so that was 16 tips for interviewing to help you land that dream job! I hope it was educational. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t done so already!
What’s better than landing your dream job? Passive income (Escape the Rat Race with Passive Income)!