7 Tips for Acing your Next Job Interview
1. Do your research
Research companies from the beginning of the application stage through to placement, and be prepared to talk about companies’ products, services, and customers, as well as the industry in which they operate. Check out a company’s website and the websites of its competitors for helpful information, read press releases and recent news about the company, and visit social media sites for insight into customers’ minds. Throughout the entire process, remember: Take Notes.
2. Listen more than you talk
As a little memory aid, recall that you have two ears and one mouth, and should listen twice as much as you talk. Pay attention to the questions the hiring manager asks, as well as the tone and context of the questions. Don’t read into things too much, but ask yourself, “What is the interviewer trying to find out?”
3. When it comes to words… it’s quality, not quantity
When you do respond to prompts and questions, be sure to address the topic at hand and don’t go off on tangents. Interviewers like to see a strong understanding of the subject and not an introduction to all the things you know a little bit about. Be aware of your body language, making sure not to seem nervous. Convey confidence, but not arrogance, and always smile. Remember those notes you took? Pull them out of your mental filing cabinet and offer some insight into the company and its competitors, thereby making your response specifically relevant to the interviewer. This will make it easier for the interviewer to see you as someone who already works at the company, rather than someone on the outside looking in.
4. Take the time to learn
Most interviews end with the prompt, “Do you have any questions for me?” This should spark more discussion and not end in a definitive, “No, I’m all set.” Have topics ready, and be prepared to tie them in with the earlier conversation points. Not only will this impress interviewers by showcasing your drive and passion, it will also benefit you by shedding light on areas that might not have come up in your research or during the interview. Ask about the company environment, things that current employees are excited about, or take the time to find out what the interviewer does in a standard day. This will strengthen the rapport and affirm your place as a unique candidate.
5. Ask for the job!
Once you’ve gotten all your answers, ask the most important question, “Based on our conversation, do you think I’d be a good fit for the team?” Whatever language feels comfortable to you is right; just make sure you find out how you were perceived. This is the opportune time to affirm your fit, address hesitations, or even clear up a miscommunication. If you get a positive response, move your candidacy forward in the process by expressing your enthusiasm and asking what the next steps are. In some cases, it’s even appropriate to ask for the job outright! If you get a non-committal or negative response, ask the interviewer if you could take five more minutes of his/her time to address his/her concerns. On numerous occasions I have seen candidates leverage this strategy and turn hiring managers’ “pass” into “let’s move forward!” Miscommunications, or more often assumptions, can be candidates’ worst nightmare.
6. Where do I go from here?
Many people see interviews as a step in the process to getting a job. It is perhaps better characterized as the start of an ongoing process of sharing information toward building a business relationship. Know that when you leave the interview, there is still more work that could be done – even though it may not necessarily be required. Ask the interviewer is there’s anything else that you can provide; references, case studies, or portfolio samples are some of the things that could be useful to the interviewer now that they know more about you and your history. Take the time to get a business card and to find out the next steps in the hiring process. Will you need to prepare any paperwork, is there anyone else to contact, will there be any more interviews? Many people have a fear of interviews, so showing that you’re willing and eager for another chance to interview could prove quite beneficial.
7. Finish strong
The interview is over when you both agree it’s over. Don’t seem too eager to leave, but don’t keep the interviewer in their chair if you’re not prepared to add more value to the conversation. Once it’s clear that the hard part is over, be sure to cap off the experience with an affirmative handshake and a pleasant smile. Keep a firm grip and employ the two or three ‘pumps’ rule, showing your appreciation, but not taking the interviewer’s hand for ransom. Once you’ve left the interview, and the facility, write down any notes you may find helpful in the future, either for use further in the interview process or for future interviews. Then, wait a day, and send off the all-important “Thank you” email, expressing your appreciation for the interviewer’s time. Use this opportunity to offer any further assistance in the hiring process, and to further cement your rapport with your contacts.
A lot goes into making a successful interview. The turnout is largely impacted by your preparedness and ability to shake those butterflies from introduction to exit. Remember to be confident and stay relevant and you may shortly find yourself arranging pictures and knickknacks on the top of your new desk.
CareerEncore is a boutique recruiting firm dedicated to providing Greater Boston-area technology companies with exceptional talent. If you’ve proven yourself at a tech-driven company, functional experience aside (development, systems, marketing, sales, finance, operations, executive suite, etc.), we can help you find your next great opportunity. In particular, we are always looking for skilled software engineers, programmers, and developers. With all of our candidates and clients, we forge lasting partnerships. Our commitment to understanding your needs, coupled with our years of industry experience, uniquely enables us to successfully match talent with opportunity.
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