The job interview is your bottom of the 9th, bases loaded moment: a strike out ends the game, a base hit gives you a chance, and a home run – well, you get the picture.
Of course, you need to make sure you’re on time for the interview, dress professionally, and exude self-confidence – those are givens. In order to truly stand out and make them realize you’re the best candidate, you need to step up your game and go the extra mile.
1. Investigate Everything
We live in the information age, people! Take advantage of the incredible amount of data that lies at your fingertips. If you don’t even take the time to learn the basics from the company’s website, you will lose that job opportunity in 5 minutes.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your investigation. Look up news articles about the company, find people on LinkedIn who work there (especially if they’re interviewing you), and scour social media for tidbits that can help you have a meaningful conversation.
The more you know, the more confident you will be when the interviewer asks you questions about the industry and their organization. It makes a strong imprint on the employer that you care enough to learn about them BEFORE you even get the job.
2. Find Their Problem, Create A Solution
In theory, just about anyone can be hired and be trained to handle the daily, mundane tasks of a position. What most people fail to do is bring immediate, tangible value to a company that impacts the bottom line.
Remember that research you were doing? Now use your critical thinking skills to determine where this company needs help, and exactly how you represent the solution. Yeah this takes some extra work, but do you want the job or not?
For example, if you’re looking to get hired into a marketing position, and you see the company has lost revenue the last two years, dig deeper. What problems do you see – as an unbiased observer – and how could you begin fixing it on day one in your new job? Add value now!
3. Produce a Stunning First Impression to Everyone
LJNRadio guest Jim Webber, who has more than 25 years of experience as a human resources manager and employment lawyer, says that many hiring decisions are made within 5 minutes of meeting a candidate for an interview. Keep this in mind for everything you do!
When the day arrives, the interview starts the moment you step onto the company’s property. Everything you do and say can be used against you (or for you) in the court of public opinion. A first impression can bury you in a hole you can’t get out of or catapult you to the top of the list.
Keep your head up, make eye contact, greet everyone with a smile, speak up, and be kind to each person. The individual at the front desk is the eyes and ears of the whole organization – he or she matters as much as the hiring managers, CEO, and president.
The individual at the front desk is the eyes and ears of the whole organization – he or she matters as much as the hiring managers, CEO, and president.When you meet your interviewer(s) – man or woman – a firm handshake is an absolute must. Psychology research shows that handshakes make powerful impressions and can speak volumes about one’s personality. Don’t knock yourself down a peg by failing on a simple handshake.
4. Mirror Your Interviewers
It’s been proven time and again that humans like people who act, speak, and look like them, and it’s no different during an interview. Pay attention to the subtleties of each person in the room with you, as mirroring is often a sign that you’re in sync with each other.
Now that’s not to say you should outright copy their every move, but get a sense of the tone of the conversation, their body language, and facial cues. If they’re leaning in, slightly do the same. Noticing lots of hand motions and facial expressions? When you respond, act in kind.
Mirroring displays a sense of trust and understanding, two vital components in a long-term relationship. If you mirror effectively, they’ll walk away thinking, “I really like that candidate as a person,” and they may not even know why.
5. Ask Insightful, Thoughtul Questions
Too many people take this final step lightly, failing to understand the important role it plays in the company’s opinion of you. Believe it or not, most organizations don’t want a “know-it-all” who thinks he or she has it all figured out.
Come prepared with questions ahead of time (around 10 should be good), but also take notes during the interview should more questions arise during your conversation. The ability to formulate questions about the items you just discussed is a huge positive in employers’ minds.
This shows them you are truly paying attention, want to learn more, and bring a unique perspective to the team – exactly what they want on a daily basis in your position. As far as the questions themselves, some of the areas to focus on are…