Are you ready to seize the golden opportunities emerging in today’s thriving job market? As seasoned professionals rise from the ashes of uncertainty, it’s crucial to equip yourself with more than just a polished résumé. Elevate your game and master the art of interview presentation!

Picture this: you’ve fine-tuned your résumé to perfection, but have you invested the same effort in preparing for the pivotal interview? Don’t let this common oversight hinder your chances of securing that sought-after position. If you aspire to leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager and secure the job of your dreams, pay close attention to the following invaluable interview tips. These insights will transform you into a standout candidate, positioning you for success.

Master the Art of Interviewing: Your Path to Success

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of acing your next interview? The key lies in your ability to sell your unique background and experience, demonstrating why you are the perfect fit for the job and how you can contribute to the company’s ultimate success.

Preparation is the Key to Success.

Immerse yourself in the realm of interview preparation and uncover the secrets to triumph. Conduct thorough research on the company and its culture, anticipate potential questions, and arm yourself with the knowledge that sets you apart from the competition. (review their website, financial information/annual report, LinkedIn profiles, etc.) Make sure your social presence represents you in the right way because they will likely do their research on you too.

In your advanced preparation, have questions prepared or be able to formulate meaningful conversation during the interview to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the position.

Ensure you confirm correct address and location (some companies have multiple locations in the same market)

Sell Yourself with Unwavering Confidence.

Your goal is to present yourself as the candidate every employer wants on their team. This someone knows themselves well, possesses a clear vision of their goals and opportunities, and exudes confidence.

  • Identify three key skill sets based on your background that you can bring to the position. Even if the question doesn’t directly ask for them, make sure to incorporate these points during the conversation. After all, you’re selling yourself.
  • Anticipate the interviewer’s productive questions. Ask yourself why they might not want to hire you and prepare a defense. Maybe you don’t have the right hard skill, but soft skills are just as important.
  • Think positive. Don’t complain about negative experiences during an interview. Even if the interviewer asks emotional intelligence questions.
  • Be aware of your body language – (do not fold your arms – appear relaxed, yet poised and confident)

Discover the power of showcasing your skills and experience with unwavering confidence. Leave a lasting imprint on the interviewer’s mind as you unleash your true potential. Let them see why you are the perfect match for the role.

The First 5 Minutes: Make Them Count!

The first few minutes of the interview are crucial. They set the stage for the interviewer’s perception of you. Project a favorable image by arriving early, leaving your cell phone in your car, dressing appropriately (minimal jewelry, no perfume/cologne, and make sure your shoes are clean), and displaying courteous behavior. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake, smile and maintain direct eye contact. Show enthusiasm for the opportunity and exude confidence in your abilities.

Honesty is the Best Policy. Always.

Employers value honesty above all else. Be upfront about your education, employment history, and background. Companies today are thorough in their investigations, so any attempts to embellish your credentials will backfire. Stay true to yourself. If you lack a certain certification, be transparent about it and express your willingness to acquire additional training.

Listen Closely, Stay on Point.

Listen attentively to each question and stay focused on the subject. The interviewer has specific points they want to evaluate, and they have carefully selected questions to achieve that. Avoid dominating the conversation and allow the interviewer to speak. Breathe, relax, and most importantly, listen. Respond succinctly and provide real-life examples that validate your answers. Elaborate when necessary, but avoid going off on tangents. The key is to be clear, concise, and attentive to the interviewer’s needs.

Remember, You’re Also Evaluating the Company.

Don’t forget that you’re there to determine if this company aligns with your aspirations. Show a genuine interest and enthusiasm in the company. It is perfectly acceptable to take notes. Asking about the availability of the position and requesting to meet the manager or team demonstrate your genuine interest.

Aim for a 60/40 focus on what you can contribute to the company’s growth and what the company can offer you. Prepare questions in advance that give you insights into the company’s direction and whether the position offers the growth and development you seek. Save questions about benefits and compensation for later stages, unless explicitly asked by the interviewer.

Post-Interview Etiquette

  • Thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview and ask about next steps if they were not discussed.
  • Ask for a business card(s) from interviewer(s).
  • Send an email or handwritten thank you note to the interviewer.
  • Call your recruiter and let him/her know how the interview went.

These interview tips provide the necessary tools to conquer any job interview. Don’t miss the chance to leave a lasting impression and secure your dream position.

Potential Interview Questions to Ask an Employer

  • What is the largest single problem facing your staff/department right now?
  • What kinds of assignments might I expect during the first six months on the job?
  • Are salary adjustments geared to the cost of living or job performance?
  • In what ways is a career with your company better than one with your competitors?
  • Please describe the duties of the job for me.
  • Does your company encourage further education?
  • How often are performance reviews given?
  • How do you feel about creativity and individuality?
  • What is the usual promotional time frame?
  • What do you like best about your job/company?
  • Have there been many turnovers in this job area?
  • Is there a lot of team/project work?
  • What characteristics do the achievers in this company seem to share?
  • Where does this position fit into the organization structure?
  • Do you fill positions from the outside or promote from within first?
  • What skills are especially important for someone in this position?
  • What qualities are you looking for in the candidate who fills this position?
  • Will I have the opportunity to work on special projects?
  • What is the next course of action? When should I expect to hear from you, or should I contact you?

Answering Challenging Interview Questions

These common interview questions can trip up the most accomplished executives. In my years as a recruiter, I have watched many candidates stumble with the following questions and as a result, they were not hired.

Tell me about yourself?

So. . . is the interviewer really wanting to know about my employment history or something more personally memorable – like when I went skydiving? The answer: it depends!

Depending on the decision maker, they may want to know different things. Some may place a stronger focus on wanting to know about your experience and accomplishments to understand how you can affect their bottom line. They might want to know you’re a “hands-on manager,” the “go-to financial reporting expert,” etc.

Others may want to know about you personally to determine if you “fit” with the company’s culture. In this case, you will want to show more of your personality. Showing personality doesn’t mean you should give testimony of what happened in your life since birth! It could be sharing something about your hobbies, interests or goals.

The best way to answer is to ask, “personally or professionally? Where would you like to start?” Let the employer guide your response.

Either way, you need to think of the answer as your introduction or “elevator pitch.”

  • Give yourself about 30 seconds to talk about who you are.
  • Craft an elevator pitch for both a personal and professional response.
  • It should be a very concise presentation of the personal and professional “you.”
  • The ideal response might be a short blend of the two.
  • Be careful not to be long-winded.
  • It’s important to show you can deliver a succinct message.
  • If you do not have a lot of experience, such as a new grad, talk about an academic accomplishment or an important internship project.

Take time to think about how you will answer this question the next time an interviewer asks you to talk about yourself – ensure your first impression is personable and professional.

What are your weaknesses?

I have heard an accountant answer this question by saying he was not detail oriented, an operations manager answer that she lacked strong communication skills and an information technology professional answer that he is not good at being a team player.

Let’s face it. We all have weaknesses and we have to answer this question with some transparency. If you don’t, the interviewer will feel like you are just trying to say what you think that they want to hear and they won’t trust you.

The best approach is to give a transparent answer that is honest. However, do not choose a weakness that is a “must have” quality for the position. Mention an area that you have not been as successful as you would like and how you have improved or are improving in this area. They want to see that you are going to be honest with them, you are self-aware and you are taking steps to improve in your areas of weakness.

This is all Great, But How Do I Get an Interview?

Before you impress the hiring manager with your interview skills, you have to actually get the interview. Here are a few quick tips to help you pre-interview.

  1. Update your résumé. Your résumé needs to be two pages or less and needs to account for all of your working years after you graduated high school or college. You also need to account for the years that you were out of the workforce, whether it is because you were a stay-at-home parent, took time off to travel or for other reasons. Employers want to know this, but keep it brief.
  2. Create or update your LinkedIn profile. If you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, you need to create one. This will allow you to set up a profile and list all of your experience or update your experience if you are already a member. Most importantly, it will allow you to connect with people from your past who may lead you to your next position.
  3. Make a list of everyone who you know in your city, both professionally and personally. Start with past co-workers and former supervisors and then work your way down the list to include those individuals who you know from church, your community, friends, neighbors and family. Begin to connect with these individuals on LinkedIn and let them know that you are looking and would be grateful if they kept you in mind as they hear of job opportunities in your field.
  4. Contact your professional references. As you interview for positions, you will need to provide at least two professional references. These need to be individuals who have supervised your work in the past. It is better for you to dust off the professional references that you have used in the past, reach out to them to get their permission to use them as a reference again and have their contact information ready to send versus waiting until you are far along in the interview process to reconnect with your references. It may take a while for you to find their current information and hear back from them, so start this process now. Who knows? They may want to hire you again.
  5. Be realistic about your salary expectations. If you have been out of the workforce for more than a couple of years, you need to be realistic about your salary expectations. Most fields constantly change. If you haven’t worked in your chosen field for a few years, your worth to the market has decreased. Don’t let this discourage you. Just understand that you are probably not going to get paid what you were making when you left your field, and set your expectations accordingly.

Today’s market is filled with qualified candidates. Take the time to prepare for your interview so you can present yourself and your abilities in the best light and secure a position.