8 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Interview
Buckle up; it’s Time to get Real
We all know the textbook answers for how to interview successfully: be prepared, know about the company, practice what you will say to those questions that are always asked, dress for the job, and so on and so forth. Let’s take a minute and think outside the box. Let’s think about tactics that are a little different, that may give you an edge and leave a great impression. Let’s be ready for an amazing interview!
Before you Apply, Get Noticed
Obviously, getting a referral or a recommendation is the best ticket into any company that is hiring, hands down. However, most of us are not fortunate enough to be able to provide this. All is not lost! Remember that recruiters are scouring job sites looking endlessly for the perfect fill for an available position. With this information in mind, remember to market yourself as a high performer when managing your social media listings, such as LinkedIn. Create attention getting profiles that show actual examples of your work anywhere possible. Also, if you would like to receive endorsements, make sure to give them as well. Professional people often return the favor.
Know when to Push Send
Applying on Monday is the way to go. There are several studies out now that say as much. Send in your resume on a Monday and you are more likely to be called in for a job interview than on any other day.
Word on the street is that scheduling your interview for a Tuesday, and even more specifically, around 10:30 a.m., will be well worth the strategic planning. This is due to the fact that we all deal with so many different responsibilities. The state the interviewer is in should be very important to you. You don’t want to slide into a Monday or Friday spot as people tend to be either recovering from the weekend or gearing up for it. Close to lunch time is also a no go. Your interviewer could be distracted, hungry, or carb-loaded and ready for a nap. They may even resent that they needed to hurry back to meet you. Play it safe and avoid mid-day, where ever possible. *Note: be mindful of how quickly they are planning to hire. You may have to jump into the first available spot if they are in a hurry!
Use all Available Tools, have you tried Google Alerts?
If you want to stay on top of the current news, information and even employment ads posted, a great tool in your arsenal is Google Alerts. If you set up an alert, you will receive an email anytime a new story, ad, etc. appears for a specific search term that you set up. This enables you to know about current events as they happen, without even searching for them.
Remember Your Interviewer’s Name
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I assure you it is easier to forget than you think. Being able to address an interviewer by name especially with a warm smile, nice handshake and comfortable eye contact can leave a positive impression that shouldn’t be underestimated. Try and use their name a time or two during the interview this will show how truly interested you are. It also is a great way to highlight how comfortable you are meeting and working with new people.
Develop and Practice Your Story
You want to enter an interviewing situation armed with your story. We are not just talking about the story that tells where you were born, grew up, went to school, and so on. Not just an answer to the forever asked question, “Tell me about yourself.” Create a story that tells more about how you evolved into the person that you are, both in your professional and personal life. It can be helpful to a prospective employer to know what drives you. How did you develop such tenacity? Right? We often don’t tell our own story well, or even in an interesting way. You want to talk about hopes, achievements, even areas you feel you have failed, things that are yours, only unique to you. This can honestly take some time and practice, but it will be well worth it. Bounce it off a critic several times, one who has your best interest at heart of course! Taking the time to do this will build your confidence and humanize you to the interviewer. Let them feel like they know you, it will be sure to have an impact in their decision making.
Become Familiar with Emotional Intelligence
If you have ever interviewed for a position that you didn’t receive, and who hasn’t? You know that it is not always the person that is the most qualified that gets the job. There are many other skills we possess that can outweigh even the smartest competition. One of the great and underrated tools for interviewing is called Emotional Intelligence. This is the ability to tune into another person’s emotional state and not only empathize but manage your own emotions to identify with theirs and then communicate with them properly. This skill can be learned. Look closely at the way you manage stress, not only your own but others. The way that you key in on moods and issues and adjust your behavior accordingly is really all we are talking about. You don’t want to seem bubbly or obnoxious to an interviewer that is obviously annoyed by such personalities. You may need to tune into the mood and adjust somewhat. We always want to be who we are of course, but taking the time to feel out the atmosphere around you and behave accordingly can be an important key in unlocking new opportunities.
Don’t Forget the Thank You Note…EVER
Within 24 hours of completion of an interview make sure to email out a Thank You note. Yes, email is perfectly acceptable in this day and age, but forgetting to do so is not. We are all so busy, every one of us in one way or another and I dare say, we all appreciate kind gestures. Show your appreciation for the time that they took out of their day to meet with you. Even if this job wasn’t a perfect fit for you, leaving a positive impression may open the door to future opportunities as they become available. They may think of you the next time they have an opening. It also opens a dialogue they can use freely. Don’t ever let good old fashioned manners fall by the wayside.
While some of these suggestions may seem to be familiar, they are a step above the norm. That extra step could make all the difference in your journey to the ideal career.
Photo credit: thetaxhaven via VisualHunt / CC BY
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor