Before the Interview: Every Battle Is Won Before It Is Ever Fought
According to MRINetwork, 75% of the hiring decision is based on the chemistry between the hiring authority and the job-seeker. The decision to hire someone can be made in a matter of minutes, with the remaining time spent supporting this decision. That being said, this blog is meant to educate prospective job-seekers on how to carry themselves with conviction, confidence, and passion. What you do and say during an interview can determine whether or not you land that career; therefore, like Sun Tzu says, the time and effort you invest in preparation is crucial.
An interview is like any other test: it is an assessment of whether you fit the role and culture of the company. An interviewer wants to see that you already identify yourself as part of the organization by demonstrating a thorough understanding of products, services, and competitors. Utilize your resources company website, Linkedin, trade magazines etc. to review current events, company statistics and company executives. If you know who will be conducting the interview, find ways to establish rapport. Do you share any connections on Linkedin? Do you have similar educational backgrounds? Are you from the same city/town? Do you share the same interests or expertise? Knowing your interviewer helps make the interview more conversational, less scripted, thus more genuine. Additionally, it is important to be familiar with the job description. It is in your best interest to convey how your experiences align with the responsibilities and requirements of the role. Lack of research will demonstrate indifference. Prepare for an interview the way you would prepare for a test: ample amounts of research will give you confidence the day of the interview.
Preparing for the interview seems an obvious step, yet the masses of potential job-seekers leave an interview unsure of their delivery. The most common mistake is not conducting enough research on the company; however, another mistake many job-seekers make is inadvertently misstating dates or statistics on their resume. Although everything may be on the resume for your interviewer to review, oftentimes they want to hear you highlight and expand on certain key areas. If you do not have a command of the information without looking at it, your interviewer may become suspicious of its validity. It is best to prepare two or three of your most significant career-related accomplishments and be able to articulate where and when these happened. Without a doubt, the interviewer will open the floor for questions. Strategic, open-ended questions are preferred, and never ask anything that can be answered by looking at their website. Worse than asking an obvious question is the mistake of not asking questions at all.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. For most people, the first interview causes jitters and forgetfulness, exacerbated by unpreparedness. Practicing your response to some possible interview questions helps you ascertain what you are trying to convey. Be cognizant of areas for improvement. Practicing aloud illuminates your weak points. When you practice in the mirror or in front of someone else, you recognize your excessive use of um's and rapid speech. Furthermore, work on being concise and illustrative. In order to be successful the day of the interview, you must be proactive instead of reactive. As the philosopher Plato once said: human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. When you research, prepare and practice in advance, you'll conduct yourself with conviction, confidence and passion.