As a hiring manager, interviewer, and applicant, I have sat on both sides of the table. The interview is perhaps the most stressful point of the application process for an applicant. So take a deep breath, relax; you got this; now ace this job interview!
You saw a fascinating job, and you applied. The description sounded great, so you sent them your resume and cover letter. The first step of applying for a job is to apply; eventually, you will end up on the other side of an interview.
How To Ace A Job Interview
You reviewed the job description and took a quick look at their website. But don’t stop there; take e deeper dive into the company before you sit down for the interview. What do they do? How long have they been in business? What position are you applying for, and is more detailed information available online?
As a hiring manager, one of the critical questions I instructed my panel to ask is, “what do you know about our company?” You can tell a lot about a candidate by how much they research the company where they are seeking employment. The blank stare they give the panel after the question tells the interviewers a lot.
Know More Than Just The Job Description
Shaylene Keiner, President of HeadHunters NW, a talent recruiter for Fortune 500 companies, gave solid advice for applicants. Shaylene said, “Preparing for your job interview is more critical today than ever. Your interviewer expects you will have done your homework. Utilize every resource at your disposal, including the internet, social media, blogs, podcasts, and searchable public records for companies and individuals.
When preparing our candidates to interview with our clients, we expect them to be ready with key points relating to the position, project details that reinforce their capabilities, and actual numbers and growth percentages they have achieved. True accomplishments are what set candidates apart. It is more than a simple regurgitation of the job description.”
Before you even head to the interview, it would be great to understand what you are getting yourself into. Shaylene gave some more solid advice on jumping into any career. Shaylene said, “If you are interested in changing careers and moving into a different industry, volunteering is an excellent way to ensure the new industry is for you. This way, you see things from a different perspective and know if the change is what you truly want.”
The Interview Process
First impressions count. Get some sleep the night before, hydrate, eat something, and be ready to go. A couple of simple suggestions, you are going to a job interview with people you may work with, so dress appropriately and arrive on time. This is also relevant if the interview is virtual; ensure you are presentable and logged in beforehand, including dealing with any potential login issues.
The hiring officials are there for one job: to pick the right candidate, and this is your time to show them you are the one they should pick.
I don’t know about you, but most people struggle to discuss how “great” and talented they are. There is a balance between being pompous and being confident about your experiences. The goal is to ensure you let your experience shine through, don’t hold back, and be confident.
Using The STAR Technique
There are methods you can use to shine a light on your accomplishments without sounding arrogant. One method is the STAR technique detailed below.
One of the most common interview techniques hiring officials use is the behavioral-based interview. This interview revolves around asking you questions about how you handled certain situations. But don’t worry; there is an easy-to-use technique to respond to each of these questions called the STAR technique.
The STAR technique for responding to behavior-based questions has been around for decades and is still used today. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
In a behavior-based interview, the questions will revolve around how you handled a situation. An example of this type of question is, “How did you handle s stressful situation at work?” You can use the STAR technique to answer this using a situation you found yourself in at a previous job.
Acing The Interview Process
Situation. This is the “no sh*t, there I was” part of the technique. In the “Situation” portion of STAR, you will describe a situation that you handled. For instance, a supervisor in your last job assigned you a big project at the last moment, and you had to complete it in 24 hours with no help. That is the situation.
Task. The task is the responsibility you have in this situation. In this scenario, the task is to have a project done in 24 hours without help. You are responsible for completing the project; it has been “tasked” to you.
Action. You took action. You took steps to complete the task. What did you do? How did you do them? In the action phase, you will explain how you handled the problem in detail.
Result. The result is the outcome of the assignment. In this case, did the problem get handled, on time, with no help?
Hint: It will help to have a positive result when providing a STAR example of how you handled a situation. This is your time to shine and show you can handle tasks with a positive outcome.
After The Questions
Many times the interview panel will ask you if you have any questions for them. This is your time to get a peak behind the curtain of the job you are seeking and get an idea of the company culture.
You reviewed the company before interviewing; was there anything you wanted to ask about that stood out? Ask away; it is your time.
Now the interview is over, and the waiting game begins. While you wait, ask yourself if you should send a follow-up email to the interviewer(s). There are two camps; one says to send one and thank them. The other camp says there is no need to. It is your call. It would help if you also noted how you did; one thing is for sure; this may not be your last interview for a job. So note what you did well and what you need to improve.