Interviewing for a new job can put anyone’s emotions through the wringer. Excitement, but nervousness; eagerness, but dread; calm and deep breaths amid the urge to panic and hyperventilate. It’s all part of the job before the job.
But according to career experts, it only takes preparedness and the right frame of mind to ace that phone call or one-on-one meeting with a hiring manager. Follow these guidelines — and avoid these pitfalls — to convince the person sitting across the table that he or she should be your new boss.
Do these things in a job interview
1. Be concise. Resist the urge to ramble while responding to an interview question, Dick McCracken, the founding director of the graduate career services office for the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University-Bloomington, tells clark.com. ‘Long answers tend to reveal a lack of confidence, and disorganization.’ Instead, be short, sweet and to the point. After all, McCracken says, if the interviewer wants to know more, they’ll just ask. ‘Any response beyond two minutes spells trouble. If the interviewer needs more detail, understand there will be follow-up questions — a positive signal.’
2. Prepare — and make sure it shows. Answering questions off the cuff might put your mind at ease, but it also signals to an interviewer that you’re unprepared. ‘Recruiters have a sixth sense of when candidates are winging it,’ one former recruiter told Yahoo! Finance. One of the benefits of preparing concise answers is that you’re almost forced to cut out all the fluff. Saying more with less is a surefire way to impress.
3. Mind the interviewer’s and company’s needs. As much as we’re tempted to focus on our own story during an interview, remember who you’re there for: the company. Someone at that table thinks you could help them. Prove them right by focusing on their needs.
4. Develop a narrative. Many interviewers will ask a candidate to walk them through their resume. According to McCracken, the response should proceed logically, emphasizing growth and vertical progression. ‘The entire response to ‘walk me through your resume’ should make an interesting story taking no longer than two minutes. Stories are easy to follow.’ And it’s also a good move to emphasize learning along the way — after all, it’s one way of gaining solid footing during an interview. ‘What one has learned is difficult to challenge,’ McCracken says.
Don’t do these things
1. Don’t be cocky. Be confident, but not so sure of yourself that you can’t admit your shortcomings or past professional difficulties. Nobody’s perfect — and being able to explain why that’s the case in your particular situation gives a hiring manager insight into your quality as a potential employee. ‘If you can’t discuss a failure or mistake, the recruiter might conclude that you don’t possess the depth of experience necessary to do the job. The recruiter is not looking for perfection,’ businessman Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. and author Carol E. Curtis write in Fast Company.
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2. Don’t suck the air out of the room. Being concise doesn’t just apply to question responses. It also applies to the flow of conversation during the interview. ‘Determine that you will do no more than 50% of the talking, even less,’ entrepreneur and venture capitalist Caren Merrick advises. ‘I’ve found that asking questions and listening during an interview is the key way to not only learn, but to connect.’
3. Don’t hide your interest in the position. If you want the job, you want the job — and the interviewer should know that, former recruiter Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio told Yahoo! Finance. ‘If I’m going to extend an offer, I want to know that you’re going to accept.’ Knowing this is useful for the purpose of giving a good closing argument during an interview, as well as following up.
4. Don’t make the interviewer question why you’re there. If you’ve landed an interview, someone at the company has you in mind for an opening. Prove them right — make sure they know why you’re a fit. If you leave your qualifications and desire open to interpretation, it could work against you. The closing argument during an interview should make ‘an experienced-based, logical statement of why the candidate is interviewing for the open position,’ McCracken says.