After more than 11 years in the staffing business, the thousands of candidate interviews I have performed mostly blend together. The reality is that most people just simply do not interview well. Usually being nervous or ill-prepared are the normal culprits. The bottom line is that interviewing should not be as hard as it seems to be for many people and the battle for great jobs is fierce. Here are five tips to help you have a strategy for every interview the rest of your career and win the jobs you want!
Prepare an accomplishment based resume
The most important area of prep for any interview is an examination of your own past. Before every interview you should update your resume to indicate the most critical accomplishments of your career. Accomplishments need to be based around a project, recognition, productivity, or other acknowledgement. Hard data and facts need to support your accomplishments. For example, accomplishments that sizzle right off the pages of resumes are things that must be able to be referenced and fact checked, money saved, projects under budget and on time, and your exact role in the process.
Read the job description several times
You may or may not get into a deep discussion on the description, but with thorough evaluation of it you can walk your interviewer directly into areas of your strengths. If you are an accountant and 60 percent of the role is in bank reconciliations and you LOVE bank recs…guess what? Tell them that! Hiring managers love to hear that important parts of their job are things you enjoy. Their take away is that you will be a happy and productive team member.
Research the company and interviewer exhaustively
Google and LinkedIn are your friends. Use them to know everything that is out there about a company. It will really help you when asked, “Why are you interested in this role?” You are much more likely to develop a truly compelling reason for your attraction to a company than others, and in turn focus on things that are outside the boundaries of the job duties. Companies want career minded people who fit in the culture and knowing what the culture seems to indicate will put you ahead of the curve.
Be interested, not interesting
Make certain to answer questions decisively and with purpose. Interviewers do not want to hire story tellers, they want producers of results. You must focus on not wavering from the questions that are asked. Here’s a key thing – you should never have to say any of these phrases: “Long story short…”, “I’m rambling…”, “I’m not sure if I answered your question…”. Take a breath and pause before beginning a response if you need to in order to get off to a good start. Additionally, focus on preparing questions to ask your interviewers that are based in your research of the organization and its people. Ask questions that allow you to know better about what is urgent or important in the role and the department you will be going into. This allows the company to feel good about you knowing there is some pain (or else you would not be there interviewing) and how you may help make it go away.
Be gracious and close your interviewer on you
Thank your interviewer for their time at the beginning and end of the interview in a direct and sincere manner. Look them in the eye and tell them how happy you are to be there, and then how much you enjoyed the time spent together. This is a great opportunity while walls are down to make a declarative statement about your interest in the role. Tell them how you feel you would impact the department or organization and be specific in the manner you would do it. Give one last firm handshake and head out the door.
Nate joined Aureus Group in 2006 and has exclusively been serving Nebraska customers all across the state. In his role as Sales Manager, Nate leads an elite team of recruiters and account managers who source accounting and finance talent within all industries. This talent ranges from technical individual contributors to executive finance leadership.
Nate has earned the prestigious “President’s Club” award three times, which puts him in upper echelon status among not only his Aureus Group peers, but also in the staffing and recruitment industry. He attributes his success to a transparent style of communication and a sincere belief in pairing the best interests of his clients with that of his candidates on every occasion.
Prior to his time at Aureus Group, Nate carved out his skills in the banking, advertising, and retail industries. These growth experiences led Nate from Kansas City to Des Moines to Phoenix and then back to his original home in Nebraska. Nate holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from The University of Missouri at Kansas City and is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) through the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS).