By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). Congratulations, you’ve landed a job interview! For most people (myself included), this moment of elation quickly gives way to nerves. What do I talk about? Am I really qualified enough? And most importantly, how can I get the edge over the competition and make this position my own? In this post we’ll talk about the qualities employers are searching for during the interview, and what specifically you need to do to maximize your chances of success.
Here are the 3 fundamentals of a great interview:
-Enthusiasm. Make it crystal clear that you are excited by this job. I recommend stating this outright near the start of the interview, and using a few accomplishments from your career to establish why you’re a great fit. Sounds obvious, but you would be amazed at the number of well-qualified professionals who stall out during the candidate selection process for a perceived lack of excitement/interest.
-A willingness to get into the nitty-gritty. Interviews work best when they address specifics. Ask your interviewer to elaborate on the major aspects of the job, and how they impact the company-at-large. Wherever possible, bring greater clarity to details on your resume through supplying supporting information. A candidate who is willing and able to deal with the micro aspects of the job comes across as far stronger than someone who won’t.
-Confidence. There’s a big difference between confidence and bravado. The latter is making unsupported claims and covering up weaknesses through bluster. Confidence is clearly stating your areas of expertise and having the courage to admit when you don’t know something, or failed to achieve an expected outcome. Confidence means owning your career and taking responsibility.
Now that we have a broad overview of where we need to end up, what can we do to get there prior to the interview?
1) Find out who will be interviewing you and their role within the company. LinkedIn can be very helpful in this regard- beyond checking out their profile, are you connected with someone who knows this person? Focus on finding commonalities or shared interests, as these can be a great way to break the ice.
2) Assess the key requirements of the position, and make sure your resume explicitly supports it. Assuming an interviewer will “read between the lines” and magically see your fit for the position is a recipe for failure. Unless your resume instantly communicates your suitability, and backs it up with tangible accomplishments, it’s a liability.
3) Find your happy place on the day of. Don’t even think about the nuts-and-bolts of the interview until you’ve taken the necessary actions to get into a positive headspace. For some, that means taking a long bike ride or hike. For others, it’s spending some extra time with that first cup of coffee in the morning. You want to bleed off as much extraneous stress as possible so that you can go into the interview clear-eyed and mindful.
4) Set up a reward for immediately after the interview, and stick to it regardless of outcome. That last part is crucial. Whether you thought you aced the interview or tanked it, give yourself a treat afterwards. It doesn’t have to be expensive or involved, just something that gives you pleasure. And when you feel those stress levels rising prior to the interview, remember that you’ve got something good coming.
One final thought: during the interview itself, focus on making a connection with your interviewer, not on landing the job. The truth is, there are many factors that go into hiring someone which you have no control over. Don’t place all of the pressure on yourself- no one can withstand that. Instead, focus on what you can control, and always remember that you are bringing a unique set of skills and passions to the table.
Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Founder of ResumeOrbit.com, a consulting firm that specializes in Resume/CV Development, LinkedIn Profile Development and Executive Bio Letter Development for senior and mid-level professionals.