In today’s tough economy competition for jobs is at an all time high. The national unemployment rate has increased to double digits, companies are becoming more selective in who they hire, and the interview process is taking longer and longer.
We have all heard the talk about searching for a new job…how to go about it, how much time per day to spend looking, resume tips, and working your personal network. But what happens when you land the interview? How are you differentiating yourself from your competition and why should a potential employer higher you?
It isn’t good enough anymore to show up in your blue business suit, to use a firm handshake, and to follow up with a thank you after the interview. We can all agree that the interview is a fragile process, a crapshoot that can go either way. With that being said, here are five things you can do to win any interview and give you an edge against your competition.
- Made| Saved/Achieved Have you made your company any money? Have you saved your company any money? Have you achieved anything outstanding in your previous positions? Awards? Promotions? Special recognition? The logic here is past performance is a key indicator for future results. What company wouldn’t like someone who can make them money, save them money, or grow within an organization?
- What unique skill set to you bring? What makes you different? What does a company get if they hire you? Be brief, give examples and move on. Shakespeare said brevity is the sole of wit. People have short attention spans. Don’t ramble. You will lose your audience.
- Be prepared Do your homework on the company, the person who is interviewing you, and why the position is open. (Your recruiter can help you on this). We are in the age of information; there is no reason why you shouldn’t know about the company you are interviewing with. You don’t have to know everything, but you should be able to talk intelligently for a couple of minutes about them. Be ready to answer the typical interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself. I would love to tell you about myself where would you like for me to start and what would you like for me to include?
- This gives the interviewer a starting point and gives you key insight in what is important to them.
- How much are you looking for? Explain that money is not the driving force in your search but you would be open to their best offer to someone with your background.
- Why should we hire you? Explain how your background and career goals are congruent with their company. Draw comparisons to your background and the job they are trying to fill.
4. Believe in yourself and be confident, but be careful not to be overconfident, arrogant or oversell your background.
5. Close hard; ask the interviewer 3 key questions at the end of the interview.
- Is there anything in my background that would prohibit us from moving to the next step? This gives you a second chance to expand on any perceived weaknesses or miscommunication.
- What is the next step? This gives you a sense of the company’s urgency and when you should hear back from them.
- Can I count on your support as I continue through the process? This is a verbal commitment from the interviewer and lets you know where you stand. If they can’t endorse your candidacy, maybe it’s time to look for another opportunity.
If you can adopt these strategies into your interview process you will be well on your way to winning any interview and getting your dream job.