I remember the feedback vividly. You got the job, but you were not the most qualified. However, you were the best overall fit for the job, and you interviewed really, really well.
Feeling confident in a job interview is possible. And if you complete the following seven preparation tips, you too will nail your next interview. These are the steps I took and have used in countless interviews. And they worked for me. I was able to land a job and hear the feedback I wrote above.
Getting ready for each interview takes preparation and reflection time. It can feel redundant and heavy. But showing up confident and organized in your thoughts might be the missing link.
I am a huge advocate for writing down answers to potential questions. You can think how you might answer them, but writing details down actually helps you craft your answer properly while also ensuring it sticks. The following six tips are guaranteed to help you nail your next interview.
1 – Prepare and then prepare some more
Preparation is what will give you great confidence and assurance in your answers. It will allow you to be ready to answer any question thrown your way, even if you have five people sitting around a table analyzing your every word.
Confidence will seep from you when you can calmly answer the questions. And what employer doesn’t want to see how a potential candidate can handle the pressure. Being thoroughly prepared might be the piece that lands you above other candidates even when your skills might not.
2 – Know Your Audience
If you don’t know who you are interviewing with, ask! It is not a bad or weird question. It is a question that is expected. Knowing who will be interviewing you allows you to feel a small understanding of who they are. Research them a bit. Know a few things about their career and what they do at the company.
This shows genuine interest in the company. And it will give you an immense amount of ease in the interview, which will likely lead to a feeling of assurance. LinkedIn is your friend when it comes to interviewing prep. Research, the company employees. Know how they structure themselves a bit. Understand who you are interviewing with, so you can ensure you nail your next interview.
3 – “Tell me About Yourself”
You know the question or some version is coming. So be prepared for it. Craft this message out ahead of time. Don’t let this answer get too wordy. I always tried to land it in under two minutes. Any more, and they were getting lost.
Start with a sentence about who you are and what your current status is. Give a sentence or two about where you have been. (Now is a great time to connect in a mutual school or company with the interviewer if there is one.) And spend the remaining couple minutes sharing a few accomplishments that will connect you to the job you are applying for and why you’re there. Share with them how you got to this moment and why this role is appealing to you.
4 – Your Resume is Your Guide
I always have my resume sitting in front of me when I interview. And frequently, if I am answering a question that I have also noted on my resume, I point that out. Your resume should be a working document that helps guide your answers and reminds you of the key points you want to share.
I have taken notes on mine during the interview to show interest. Other times, it has helped remind me of areas that might be slipping away from my memory. It is your outline; use it! And by all means, make sure you have plenty of extra copies to share. Never assume they have the one you sent printed. It just never seems to happen…
5 – Examples
You can assume with high certainty that you will get questions around “tell me a time when…” It is good practice to have noted, on your resume, at least three key contributions for your recent work and your last role. Spend time detailing those out before your interview. Use the STAR Method to ensure you are not missing any details. Can I stress this again – write it down!
This will give you solid examples to use within your answers. If you pick the right ones, they will coincide with the skills you bring to this potential new role. If the examples need to change according to the job you are applying for, awesome! Anyway, you can customize your work experience and show a connection to what they need is a win and a guaranteed way to nail your next interview.
6 – “What questions do you have?”
Create a generic list of about three-six areas or questions you want to ensure you get answers to. These questions are what will bring you the clarity if you want to accept this job. After all, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
This list will serve useful before every interview. You can review it and write down the questions you still need answers for. Some critical areas for me were the people and culture, leadership style, and resources to get the job done. Once you have your list, forming questions will come naturally. And being prepared with these questions shows your genuine interest in their company.
7 – Don’t Show Up and Throw Up
It goes without saying. Stop showing up and throwing up. Slow down. Focus. If it takes you longer than two to three minutes to answer one question, you are likely sharing more than you need to. Prepare your answers and examples ahead of time. Use the STAR Method I mentioned above and keep it simple, focused, and polished.
These tips for nailing your next interview are part of my Design Your Dream Career program. Helping my clients not only find their dream jobs but land them is my mission. Want to know more? Let’s connect. I offer a free 45-minute Career Clarity Consult. You can always begin again.