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Five strategies to nail that interview

March 22, 2016 — 

Congrats! Your resumé and cover letter have convinced the employer that you deserve an interview! It’s time to show the hiring panel that you are the best person for the job.

During the interview the employer will be assessing your skills as they relate to the job, your fit with the company, your attitude, and your ability to grow with the organization. Reflect on how your experiences, skills and unique talents can meet the needs of the employer.  Keep in mind, preparation is key to interview success, so expect to spend more than a few hours to prepare!

Here are five strategies to help you nail the interview:

1. Know your top 5 skills

The interview is your opportunity to showcase your relevant skills for the job and give some concrete examples.  Think of 5 skills you have that the employer wants. Now consider the stories you could tell to demonstrate how you put these skills to work.  If you indicated you have teamwork and collaboration skills, identify a time you used these skills – what was the situation, what actions did you take and what were the results of those actions. Having stories to draw from in the interview will go a long way to showing you can walk the talk.

2. Research the company

When you applied for the job, you looked on the company website to learn their vision, mission and some key projects the company is working on. Now it’s time to ramp up that research. You want to come across as an expert on the company so take the time to ensure you can speak to the vision and mission and how that reflects where you see yourself. Take an even more in-depth look into the work they are doing. Google the company and look over news releases to learn about their past and current activities.  Ask yourself how your skills, experience and creativity could be a contributing factor.  It’s your time to demonstrate how you can add to the company’s success.

3. Anticipate and practice potential questions

If you have done your homework and identified the skills and competencies the employer is looking for, you will be able to predict some of the interview questions. For example, if you applied for an addictions worker position you know the employer will value your communication skills, assessment skills and conflict resolution skills.  Use the interview questions as an opportunity to market the knowledge, skills and attitudes you know the employer is looking for.  Be sure to prepare for these common questions that are asked by employers:

  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why do you want to work here?

There are many resources to help you identify some common questions and how you might address them.

4. Portray confidence and be considerate

From the minute the employer calls or emails to offer the interview they start to evaluate your suitability for the position. Ensure all your correspondence is error free and written in a professional manner. When interview day arrives, arrive on time with a few minutes to spare. Always be kind and courteous to the person in the reception area – you can bet that the manager will be asking for their perspective on hiring you. Your body language should also show confidence – greet individuals with a strong hand shake, smile, maintain eye contact and lean slightly forward to display interest in the process.

5. Prepare questions

Be prepared to interview the company; after all you may be spending the next three to five years of your life in their employ. Your interviewer will usually end the interview by giving you a turn to ask questions. Ask meaningful questions that can’t be answered by a simply Google search. The employer will be evaluating you on the questions you ask so make sure they are thoughtful and show your interest in their future.  It is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your motivation to work for the company.

Need additional assistance in preparing for an interview? Attend a Career Services Interview Workshop or use the online resources.

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