The 3 Things You Must Do in Every Job Interview

th (2)So you’ve done all the research, completed the homework assignment and are intellectually prepared for your interview.

But what about during the interview? How prepared are you for that? How will you convince the recruiter you are the perfect candidate?

I’m not talking about avoiding those troublesome antics like leaving the cell phone on, chewing gum or not having a good answer to “What is your greatest weakness?”

I’m talking about the three things you must do in every interview – the things that separate you from every other candidate – because most people don’t do them.

Repeatedly Speak in Terms of Your Value

Repetitio mater studiorum est.

It’s a Latin phrase meaning, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

The ONLY reason someone will hire you is they believe you have the ability to help them solve their business problems.

At an interview, the employer has the problem, and you are there to demonstrate you can solve it. Everything you say and do should convey that same message. Convey it in as many ways as you can.

  • I can do it, here’s how I will
  • Here’s evidence I’ve already done this for someone else
  • My proven skills are xyz, and here’s how they match up to your needs
  • I’m likeable and will be a good fit in the organization, here I am demonstrating that in the interview

There’s not just one question about how you’ll provide value. The entire interview is a process in which others learn about YOU and what you are going to do for them. Help THEM learn! Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Whether you are convincing them of your likeability, demonstrating your fit in the organization, or presenting a 30-60-90 day start-up plan, your overarching, consistent and repeatable message is about the value you bring.

Convey a Confident Presence

Someone told me a long time ago, “Lea, when you walk into a room, you have a presence.” Although I still have a hard time describing it, I can tell you it’s been a powerful quality in my career.

When you have presence and confidence, people sense it.

In a recent Forbes article the author describes executive presence as “the ability to project gravitas–confidence, poise under pressure and decisiveness.” In an interview, the manager wants to know you are confident (NOT arrogant). No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t seem very sure of him or herself.

But it’s hard for new grads to understand the power of personal presence, because you really haven’t had a lot of experience with it. So start building a sense of confidence and comfort in your own skin. Practice looking up and out, to see how you fit into the picture.

Be who you are. Be confident in who you are. But also be a part of the system in the room.

Say You Want the Job

I had a new grad client who told me recently that he was uncomfortable asking for the job. To those of you who are I say: If you don’t, someone else will. Advantage: them.

Here’s why. When I was a manager my team and I would huddle after panel or round-robin interviews. The first to go on the list would be anyone who didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about the job.

Managers want to hire people who want to work for them!

I wonder how many great talents we let walk out of the office that could have done a great job. Except they didn’t tell us they wanted to.

If you are uncomfortable saying this, then you need to practice before you go in. And of course, only say it if you really WANT the job. Typically you’ll be asked if you have questions, this is a good point to bring up in summary.

I want you to know that, without question, I want this job. What other information can I provide, or questions can I answer, to convince you I’m the right candidate?

Once you leave that room, you can say it in a thank you note or a phone call. But don’t leave the power of saying it “face-to-face” on the table.

The job interview is not just a hiring manager interrogating you. Get in the game, take a role in the discussion, and center it around the value, confidence and commitment you bring to the opportunity!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friend Lea McLeod!




Lea McLeodAbout the Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her on Twitter and her blog:



This entry was posted in Job Interviews, Job Search and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.