When it comes to job interviews, chances are you have experienced your fair share. Whether you are applying for an entry-level position or are poised to finally make that jump to Director or Vice President, a job interview is one of the last things that stands between you and the job you hope to hold. While every job, company, and interview are different, there are several things you can do to stand out from the competition, regardless of where you are applying.
Research, Research, Research
When applying to work anywhere, it is imperative you are educated on what your potential employer does. Spend time familiarizing yourself with both the broad goals and if possible, the day-to-day operations of the company. Search sites liked LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find what current or former employees have to say about working there. Familiarize yourself with basics like expectations, experience with bosses or the CEO, and salaries. Set Google Alerts that will help keep you up to date with any company related news or current events. Referencing these in interviews will help you stick out from the competition and make you more memorable.
Once you’ve finished your due diligence, ensure you can connect what you have learned back to the rest of the company. In-depth knowledge is great, but its relevance to the questions you will be asked in the interview is what forms a lasting impression. If you have a chance to ask questions, make sure they connect to what you have learned, as good, relevant questions are drastically better than the typical, “Do people like working here?” and showcase your critical thinking.
Remove these Buzzwords from your Vocabulary
Last month, Glassdoor released a list of words to never use on your resume. This list was a follow up to a September article titled, 13 Must-Have Words to include in Your Resume. Sticking with this train of thought, there are various words or phrases to avoid when face-to-face with your potential employer. Stay away from words like “responsible” or “responsibility.” Everyone interviewing will list the various tasks they were responsible for.
Instead, be specific, and use words like “create,” “lead” or “managed,” as these convey your ability to strategically set goals and follow through. Always use words that convey large amounts of detail, as being vague may raise red flags or result in a dull, forgettable interview. If you established a new policy or completed a significant project, use words that highlight your achievements. Try words like “Redesigned,” “Launched” or “Modernized,” as opposed to just listing items as if you were reading off a list.
Preparation on the Day of
On the day of, there are a few things you can do leading up to the interview itself to improve your chances of landing the job. Eating and hydrating adequately before will help calm your nerves and lessen your body’s natural responses to stress, like sweating or bad breath. Leave at a time that allows you to arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes early. This will gives you a chance to collect your thoughts. It also prevents you from stressing about showing up late because of traffic lights, construction, or an accident; tardiness to the interview will often result in viewing you as un-hirable.
Once you have arrived, use the rest of the time before the interview to your advantage. Be aware that the interview started the second you walked in the door. Stay off your phone, speak respectfully, and try to get a feel for the company culture in its natural environment. This can be the most honest view of a company you receive before being hired. It can give you a better idea of how a company operates and those you’d be working with, that you may not receive in the actual interview.
If you follow these three tips, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition and nail that interview. Good luck!