by Ellie Dailey
The founder of a video interviewing company and member of The Job Forum panel of volunteers has these tips to offer job hunters
Interviews are your chance to make a good impression with the company you want to work for.
Your interview can mean the difference between the job of your dreams versus settling for a position that you don’t really enjoy.
To make sure you end up where you want to be, here are 6 tips to help you ace your next interview!
1. ABS – Always Be Selling!
Interviews are a great opportunity to discuss your talents, skills, and accomplishments. It may sometimes feel as if you’re bragging, but you want your interviewer to be aware of your capabilities and achievements. Have you created your own blog? Started a non-profit organization? Conducted a research project in school? Be prepared to discuss your experiences in ways that showcase how you would excel in the position that you’ve applied for. You can think of your skills as selling points; you should know which selling points you want to highlight and always have an example in your work history to demonstrate it.
2. Know the Company
It’s not uncommon for companies to ask why you want to work for them. Rather than giving answers such as, “Because I believe it’s a good opportunity” or “I think I would do well at Company X,” you should have deeper-than-surface level knowledge about the company and its endeavors. Many businesses have blogs and social media pages that may offer more extensive information on the company’s recent
developments, growth, or interesting projects. Keeping up with news alerts can also provide you with this type of less mainstream information, and you can work it into your answer as to why you want the position. For example, when you talk about why the company and the job interests you, you might mention their growth in the previous quarter or how one of their recent innovations has made a positive impact. This will show that you’ve done your research and will convey a genuine interest and excitement. Also set up a Google Alert for the company a couple of days before the interview to keep up to date with events.
3. Know How to Discuss Your Weakness
While you definitely want to communicate your strengths in an interview, there’s a good chance that you’ll be asked the question, “What is your weakness?” This isn’t a trick question, and the interviewer likely won’t turn you away based on what your answer to the question is. Rather, the way in which you answer the question can make a dramatic difference. You should steer clear of responses such as “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” Again, this isn’t a trick question, and you’ll miss the heart of what is really being asked. What the interviewer really wants to know is how you address your shortcomings. You should answer the question honestly, but follow up with how you’re actively working to improve in that area.
For example, instead of simply saying:
“I have a tendency to get sidetracked in my work and sometimes leave a project before it is completely finished.”
Follow up with:
“But I’ve developed an organizational system for myself that has allowed me
to maintain focus and complete projects efficiently and with consistently high quality.”
4. Be Prepared
This may sound extremely obvious, but many people go into interviews less prepared than they should be. It’s often not enough to simply discuss your work history and why you want the job. You should be prepared for any questions you think the interviewer might ask. Research common interview questions both in general and for the field in which you are applying. Write down your responses to these questions beforehand and refine them so that you’ll be ready if and when they get asked! As suggested above, you should also have specific examples ready to incorporate into your answers. If you have these examples prepared ahead of time, you won’t need to waste time in the interview trying to think of them. Finally, informational and mock interviews can be extremely helpful. Find someone (whether at The Job Forum or a former employer, teacher, etc.) who can help you prepare and can even interview and provide feedback on what you did well and where you need to improve.
5. Bring Your Own Questions
There is a very good chance that the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. You must try your best not to say “no.” Instead, as before, prepare these questions beforehand. Below are some good questions to ask your interviewer:
-What are the opportunities as a career path or for advancement for someone in this position
– How will success in this role be measured?
–How do you describe the culture of the company?
Some questions may be better suited to your interview/position than others.
6. Follow Up!
After your interview, send an email to your interviewer to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. You should try to send this within 24 hours of your interview. Follow-up emails are also a good place to ask about next steps or even request to connect with the recruiter on LinkedIn. If time goes on and you don’t hear back, it’s appropriate to check in with the interviewer to ask about the process. 1 week is generally a good time to send a second follow-up email to let the recruiter know that you’re still interested in the job, just keep it concise and make sure it doesn’t become bothersome.