Interviewing is challenging for so many of us. After all, it’s a context in which we’re not used to talking about ourselves and our strengths. Some of my clients go so far as to say that they feel boastful, or as if they’re bragging. The fear of making a negative impression squelches their confidence and causes them to hold back.
As I always say, “the interview is not the time to be modest.”
Maybe it’s a lack of confidence, a a lack of practice. Perhaps you’ve been out of the job search game for some time. Regardless, here are three quick tips that will help your job interview performance.
Practice Your Pitch – Focus on Clarity & Getting Your Point Across
Jeff Reynar, Facebook’s head of engineering in New York, recently told Business Insider he looks for candidates who show up prepared to speak about both their successful projects and their challenges. And that comes through in the confidence with which candidates deliver their answers.
Practicing your pitch not only prepares you to speak confidently, but knowing how you want to frame your answers will help you speak more clearly.
“Make sure you can talk really concisely about what you’ve done in the past, what particular accomplishments you had by doing it, why you chose to work on those things, and come with great stories that illustrate how you might be a great fit [for the company’s mission],” Reynar says.
Treat the Interview Like a Two-Way Conversation
One of the most important aspects of a great interview performance is whether you can treat it like a two-way conversation. Turn the tables on the interviewer. Pose questions that will ultimately provide you with deeper insight into the company’s values, culture, and challenges. Ask the interviewer to speak about their own career path and experience with the organization, if they’ve hired candidates from the same college or university that you attended, or what makes someone successful in the company or environment.
And with that in mind…
Ask the Right Questions to Gauge Culture Fit
Candidates often make the mistake of approaching the interview as a one-sided conversation. Really, the interview is just as much an opportunity for you to assess whether the organization’s mission and culture align with your own goals and interests. I have yet to meet a candidate who was willing to take higher pay or flexible hours in places of a good working environment.
How do you gauge culture fit during the interview?
Ask thoughtful, intelligent questions to gauge how the company views its employees, what those relationships look like, how they treat individuals in a team setting, and what the leadership style looks like. Browse social media ahead of time to see what kind of content the company puts out. Are there photos or highlights of previous company gatherings? Do they speak positively of high performers, or publicly introduce new hires to the organization?
First Impressions Count
First impressions are everything in the job search process. That holds true in the interview more than any other context. Take the time to practice responding to typical and atypical interview questions to gauge your confidence. Also, know what you’re looking for in a company culture and how to communicate why that’s important to you. Come prepared to ask intelligent, probing questions that show your interest and alignment with the company’s values.
Now that you know how to boost your interview performance, you can count on more than just resume to land the job.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brooklyn Resume Studio.
About the Author: Dana Leavy-Detrick founded Aspyre Solutions, focusing on small business development and career consulting. Her mission is to support creative and socially-conscious small businesses. She also offers career transition coaching and business consulting.
Dana has helped hundreds of professionals execute effective career plans to find and DO the work they are passionate about. She has also presented seminars on navigating careers, transition and work-life balance to several colleges and universities. Her advice is featured on MSN Careers, Fox Business News, NewsDay, CareerBuilder.com, GlassDoor and About.com. Follow Dana on Twitter!