Updated: Oct 27, 2020
What are your tips for going into an interview?
A resume can only get you to the door. But the interview, is what gets you in and on your way to the "You've Been Selected" phase.
This is the reason I decided to do a miniblog series. When it comes to having a successful interview, there is no one simple answer. So here are my top 3 tips that I've found to be useful for achieving a successful interview:
#1: The interview is as much yours, as it is theirs.
This tip is all about your confidence level. A friend of mine once told me, that you need to fake it until you make it. You may be completely scared on the inside, but don't you dare show it! Just fake the confidence with all you got. I laughed when she gave me this advice, but I used it in every interview I had after. This tip is all about believing in yourself and realizing that you don't just have to take any position. You need to pick the position that works for you.
Look up information on the company and see if it aligns with your core values. Examine your surroundings and observe the people you will be working with. Prepare several questions about the company and what you are looking for. What is your salary and benefits you desire? Ask about the mission or how politics may affect both the company and your position. Are there telework options and/or flexible schedules? Don't ever be afraid to ask. The worst they can say is no. However, at least you set the standard that I need to know your value just as much as you need to know mine for me to work here. Be confident in yourself and know that the final decision is yours.
#2: The goal is to have a great interview, not get hired.
I know it sounds crazy but I've found that putting so much pressure on your self to get the position will ruin you. When my focus was to get the position, I not only doubted myself but I became anxious about every word I said and move I made during the interview. It's as if my life depends on getting this position, and for some, it may feel this way.
However, I challenge you to change your mindset. Even if you need the position, it's not fair to put so much pressure on yourself. When you go into the interview, seek to have a great conversation with the person(s) you're meeting with. Find a connection, make sure you leave feeling like "that was a great conversation".
#3: Be ye ready!
This is my "golden rule" for any interview. This is my way of saying always come prepared. Many times we have no idea what questions the interviewer is going to ask us. So always research the company or organization you are interviewing for. Review your resume to make sure you can think of behavioral type answers from your experience on the spot. And if you need to bring physical evidence such as a portfolio or writing samples, always come prepared.
I once made it to the second-round of interviews for a position I applied to. I felt like I pretty much had the position but they invited me to a "Welcome Meeting," and let me know that I would not be asked any more technical questions. However, I followed my steps of preparation just in case. I reviewed my resume and researched the organization. Sure enough, the "Welcome Meeting" was also attended by the President of the company. This "Welcome Meeting" was a second interview and consisted of behavioral and competency type questions. Some of the panel interviewers were shocked that it felt like a regular interview, which they told me after the interview was done. But I told them, as I came in with my portfolio binder, I believe in the phrase "Be ye ready."
I am continually impressed by my clients when they speak about the experience they've gained when writing their resumes. So it doesn't surprise me when I get calls and emails of how they got an interview and were hired not too long after. In a resume, I'm just helping you show your best self. At the interview, you are displaying your best self. So with these tips, I congratulate you in advance for a successful interview.