How To Ace Your Next Job Interview by Roz Usheroff
Over the many years that I have been an executive coach I have found it interesting that for the majority of my clients, the job interview is still one of the most challenging experiences to master.
For some, it is like a student who after studying for an exam, suddenly goes blank when the test paper is placed in front of them. They freeze in the interview and end up walking away replaying “could of, would of, should of” scenarios over and over again.
For others, there is the desire to get as much of “their story” out in the shortest time possible – leaving little room for actual dialogue with the interviewer.
In some instances, and rather than lacking confidence, some blow an interview by begin overconfident. These individuals act as if the position is already theirs – which is a good thing as I will discuss shortly – but make the mistake of coming across as being a know-it-all or arrogant.
In the end, whether you miss the mark in a job interview because your lucky suit was ruined or, present yourself as being tentative and unsure, the key going forward is to learn from your experiences and follow these simple tips to WOW them the next time;
It’s Not About You
We ultimately become self-conscious when we focus too much on ourselves and not on the other person. Even though this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity representing your dream job, the focus of the interview should not be about you, but about the interviewer’s needs and how they can best leverage your skills to help them to succeed.
When you focus on someone else’s interests and needs, you will be amazed at how quickly a feeling of nervousness dissolves into a sense of purpose and confidence.
Think back to when you were actively searching for your present job. Did you research the companies with whom you hoped to work? While far too many people make the mistake of looking for a job or position as opposed to seeking out the “right fit,” you probably targeted those organizations for which you could provide a needed expertise.
In your efforts to select a company, did you seek to understand the challenges that you could address? Were you effective in explaining how you could deliver a solution based on your skills and value? Were you convinced that your expertise and ability could best serve the company’s future vision?
The fact that you landed the job speaks to the effectiveness of your efforts.
Being prepared means that you cared enough about the opportunity to learn all you could about the company. This positions you to ask questions and truly engage the interviewer in a meaningful dialogue that builds rapport and understanding regarding your potential fit within the organization.
Don’t Rely on Your Resume To Do Your Talking
According to the Forbes article titled “Hire For Attitude” by Dan Schawbel, “when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill”.
In short, while having the prerequisite skill sets are important, demonstrating that you have the right attitude for the position is becoming the key to being hired.
This means that you have to seek ways to demonstrate that you are a perfect fit outside of simply listing your past positions and experiences.
You have to come across as an individual who views your day-to-day work as an opportunity to earn your place in the world, and that your passion and enthusiasm will continue even after you get the job.
In this light, consider the following questions when you are talking about your work history:
- What difference have you made in the past? What difference are you making right now?
- What key projects are you seeking out today that will result in greater value and importance to your organization’s (or business’s) future?
- How well have you worked with others in the past. Are you seen as being a team player who’s values align well with the culture of the company?
A Passion for Success?
I have always believed that passion is as much of an attitude as it is an emotion. This is an important distinction in that being passionate without focus and execution is simply wasted energy.
When you are passionate about something , be it a job or a hobby or for that matter any part of your life, you do everything you can to learn everything about it. In essence passion fuels commitment and commitment delivers results.
Before you walk into that interview ask yourself the following . . . am I passionate about this position. Does it provide me with more than a paycheck?
If you answer yes to these questions, then you will come across as a candidate that is not looking to land a job, but to make a difference in the lives of those with whom you hope to work.
Speak As If You Already Have The Job
Earlier I talked about the difference between arrogance and confidence.
I have always believed that confidence is the result of knowing your audience, being prepared, having a proven track record, and being earnestly passionate. When all of these elements come together, you are able to effectively communicate your value in terms of helping others to achieve their goals.
This means that during your interview, you will not speak from “this is what I would do if I had the position” perspective but, “this is what I will do when I have the position” certainty. In essence, you will encourage the interviewer to imagine that they have already decided to hire you and that you’re ready to forge ahead with a strategic plan of action.
Given that a study by Leadership IQ reported that out of the 20,000 new hires they had tracked, 46% of them failed within 18 months, means that the interviewer likely feels as much if not more pressure than the interviewee.
By following the above tips, you will be able to demonstrate that you are indeed the best fit for the position, and in the process provide the interviewer with the confidence to know that you are the right person for the job.