Your greatest strength as a job seeker, on any given day, is the ability to outsmart almost any interviewer.
When interviewing, employers are looking to hire those who are not only talented, but also someone they enjoy being around. They want to know if you can think on the spot and the type of personality you have.
So when preparing for an upcoming interview, make sure you’ve not only prepared your accomplishment stories for common interview questions, but also think of the best ways to let your personality shine in a way that shows you are a good fit, for them and the company.
This happens so infrequently, you will catch the interviewer off guard. This day, you will have outsmarted them.
Here are some tips to help you do that… and get the job:
Research the Interviewer Prior to the Interview
If employers are truly looking for a cultural fit, then you need to know who you’re interviewing with. Interviewers aren’t only looking to learn about your skills, but also they’re trying to understand you as a person.
Search for the interviewer on LinkedIn and become familiar with their background. It’s also a good idea to find them on Twitter to learn about the types of topics they talk about. This way, when you enter the interview, you’ll be prepared for small talk and you might even discover you have something in common with the interviewer.
Be Actively Engaged During the Interview
Everyone knows you need to bring questions to every interview, but it’s also important to be very selective about the questions you ask. Many candidates wait until the end of the interview to ask their questions. However, you need choose questions that could easily be intertwined throughout the entire interview.
To do this, first think of questions the interviewer will ask you and prepare some examples from your experience. These examples could answer questions as simple as “What is your greatest weakness?” or “Why should I hire you?” After you tell your story and explain how your experience makes you the most qualified candidate, follow up with a question for the interviewer.
Let’s say you’re asked about your strengths and weaknesses during the interview. After you provide your response, ask the interviewer what opportunities the company has available for professional development. You could then explain how you believe your career is an ongoing learning experience and you’re always looking for opportunities to build upon the skills you already have.
Turn the Spotlight on the Interviewer
If you really want to outsmart the interviewer, then you should ask them what they did yesterday. Kristine Faxon, executive director for career and alumni success at Savannah College of Art and Design, believes asking probing questions is a great way to impress the interviewer — and I agree.
Before any interview, make sure you’ve done your research on the company. This way, you’ll be able to think of questions that can tell you more about the job and company culture. Not only will this question catch the interviewer off guard and put him or her in the spotlight, but also you’ll be able to receive a better description of what the job is like.
When in Doubt, Go with Your Gut
In the case the interviewer asks you a cutesy question such as, “How many uses are there for a spoon?” give yourself a few seconds to collect your thoughts and provide your best answer. The employer is testing your ability to think on the spot. If you waste time debating your answer, you could over-think the question and even fumble on your answer. Try to go with your first, best answer and roll with it. Always keep in mind that confidence is always key when answering the strangest interview questions.
As a job seeker, try not to get caught up in the pressure of these challenging questions. You don’t have to be the most clever, witty, or creative candidate to outsmart an interviewer. All you need to do is arrive to the interview prepared, display your genuine personality, and allow your passion for what you do shine through.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor.com!
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets. Follow Heather on Twitter!