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Even if you have just graduated college or if you have 20 years work experience, if you want to get a new job, you need to pass the interview. This is the most important step in the process of getting a new job.
No matter how good your resume looks, who refers you, or how prepared you think you are, the impression that you make at the interview is crucial. From the way you dress, the way you speak, to how you reply to questions, all these details will be waged by the human resource specialist that will decide if you have what it takes to bring a profit to the company through your work.
This is such an important step in building your career that we, at Career Resource Institute, decided to create a series of interviews on this topic. We asked 20 of the brightest career experts we know:
What is your best advice to succeed in a job interview?
Let’s find out what they had to share with us.
Nikki Larchar Simply HR Partners
Nikki brings a unique blend of work experience, ranging from managing employees at both small and large establishments to consulting business owners with all of their Human Resource needs. With over 6 years of work experience in Human Resources and over 8 years of her career dedicated to managing teams, Nikki has experienced Human Resources both at the front lines of a business and as a consultant to business owners.The best advice that I can give to candidates to succeed in a job interview is, to be honest.Click To Tweet
When an interviewer asks you what are your biggest weaknesses and why answer truthfully. Then let the interviewer know that you are taking actions to better yourself by taking steps to tackle your weakness head on.
For example, you may have difficulty speaking in front of crowds or even groups of more than one person. Answer the question truthfully and then state what you are actively doing to better yourself in that particular area. In this scenario, you may be actively seeking speaking opportunities in order to develop your ability to speak in front of others.
Answering with a real weakness and a real action that you are taking will show the interviewer that you are willing to tackle skills and abilities that you may still be developing. Providing an honest answer when responding to questions like, “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake” and “Have you ever had difficulty working with a co-worker” gives you the opportunity to show that you are human, you have made mistakes, but you have learned from your mistakes.
Again, you want to answer truthfully about the scenario and then state what you did in order to fix the issue or mistake and what you learned from the experience that you have applied going forward. Everyone has a weakness (or two, or more) and everyone has made mistakes in their career. It’s okay to let the interviewer know the truth, just make sure that you are also letting them know what you have learned along the way and how you hope to change in the future.
Philip Farina Manta Security Management Recruiters
Philip Farina is a Resume’ and Career Development expert. He is the Managing Shareholder for Manta Security Management Recruiters, a subsidiary of Farina and Associates, Ltd. companies.
My Best Advice for Interviewing Success:
BE YOURSELF! Speak honestly to your experience and don’t sugar coat, embellish or lie about positions you have held or goals that you have achieved. When you are transparent about these areas, your confidence level will rise and it will be noticed. If negative items come up, be prepared to turn those into positive takeaways for the interviewer. Smile, make eye contact and watch your body language throughout.
Preparation is a key factor so in addition to dressing and grooming appropriately, make sure you have a copy of your resume’(the same copy you applied with) and a list of questions that the interviewer may allow you to ask toward the end of the meeting. Prior to your interview, whether it be in-person, by phone or video chat; you should have already done research about your potential employer.
What is their business? Who do they serve? What is the mission and culture of the organization? What are they planning for the future? If asked, you should be able to respond to these questions.
Bonus Points: this tells the interviewer that you have done your homework. Think about the specific position you are being interviewed for and how your combination of skills, experience, and personality would align or match well with those items listed in the job description. Also, have an idea about where you would like to progress or advance to within the organization.
Always follow up with a handwritten note or email sent to the interviewer, thanking them for their time and expressing excitement over the next steps. Even if you don’t get offered the position, use this as a great opportunity to critique yourself and improve on any areas where you may be lacking.
Jennifer Davis Jennifer Davis Coaching
Jennifer is a Stanford MBA graduate and certified Leadership Coach. She works with a lot of clients on a career change and figuring out how to best present themselves in interviews and to the world in general.
Here are some tips for presenting yourself in the most powerful way possible during an interview:
*1. Come from a place of passion!* Instead of channeling why you are so perfect for this job and how you can show off all of your skills, it’s actually more effective to remember what it is that inspires you about this opportunity. The Law of Attraction really does work, and the interest and enthusiasm you emanate will be noticed and matched.
People want to be around others who are genuinely fired up and passionate about their work, so instead of having the “I need to show them why I’m so great” mindset, try the “I can’t wait to share with them how excited I am about this industry/product/position”. Be authentically yourself, and realize that if there’s not a fit, it might not be the ideal company for you.
When I was in business school, I had a classmate say to me once I saw you in the career management center before your interview this morning and I was really surprised because you were in a nice tailored suit and everything, but your hair was all curly and wild. Well, I said that’s how I wear my hair, so if someone doesn’t hire me because they don’t like it, I wouldn’t want to work there anyway. P.S., I got the job, so I guess the interviewer didn’t hate the hairdo.
*2. Decide what two or three adjectives you’d use to describe yourself, then garner the evidence!* Just as politicians tend to give answers that don’t always fit the question, make sure that whatever is asked, you have the opportunity to communicate your top core competencies. For example, if you are strategic, communicative, and creative, make sure you say that.
Have at least one example of each strength, and why it would be an asset to that particular company or position. Think of it as making it very easy for the interviewer to walk away with what makes you uniquely qualified. Of course, it helps to do some thinking about which strengths would work best for this position then see how yours fit in.
*3. Do your homework!*Research the company and industry, and come prepared to ask intelligent questions when the time comes.Click To Tweet
People are always eager to talk about themselves (even if you are the one being interviewed), so take a current industry event issue, for example, and ask how that is impacting the interviewer’s current product line.
You can always ask them about the company culture, learning and development opportunities, or how they came to work there. Picture yourself as a reporter getting wildly curious about the company and this person’s job experience, as if you were actually interviewing them to see if this would be an amazing place for you
*4. Have a story about yourself that makes sense. *Again, they will be looking to get to know you, your background, and your skills not as a laundry list but as a package all put together of a human person who’d be a great asset to their team. Do you have a gap in your resume? Tell them what you did and what you learned from it. You have some jobs that are in totally different industries and think it may seem disjointed?
Talk about how the diversity of industries and positions has exposed you to many different products, management styles, and business models, which has been a great part of your learning as you aspire to be a leader in this new role. If you consider that you, as all of us, are on a path where every experience (and even–gasp!– failure) enables us to learn new skills, increase resilience, and become a better person, manager, and leader, this will be a piece of cake.
Don’t be afraid to make yourself a little vulnerable and show how steps off the beaten path have helped you evolve–this shows maturity and depth. Again, if the expectation is that every new hire is absolutely perfect and has a blemish-free past, ask yourself if this is a culture in which you would thrive.
*5. Have a pre-game empowerment plan.* As with any important meeting or event, getting in the right frame of mind ahead of time is super important. Maybe it’s the old power pose, or perhaps it’s a 4-minute dance party with your headphones in the lobby restroom. Anything that connects you on a visceral level to you Inner Warrior, Best Self, Personal CEO, will do. We each have within us the courage, compassion, and strength of our most amazing selves, and finding a way to tap into that energy before the big interview can only add to your greatness!
Thank you so much to the experts that replied to this interview. For more awesome posts like this one, be sure to follow us on social media so you can be notified of all our new posts. You can find us on Twitter at @CareeResourceIn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Minuca is a freelance writer specialized in creating expert roundups. Her posts provide quality content, bring huge traffic and get backlinks. She also helps bloggers connect with influencers. You can contact her at her blog, Minuca Elena.