Nailed It: Tips to Help You Nail That Job Interview | DCR Workforce Blog

Nailed It: Tips to Help You Nail That Job Interview

If there were ever a time when you wished you were a mind reader, it’d certainly be during a job interview. You don’t know what a new employer is looking for, and you don’t know what will persuade them to take a chance on you. You went to a great school, have steady work experience and you’re a hard worker who cares about your career. So what’s stopping you from getting that great job? The answer is nothing…and everything.

My point is that interviews can be a huge ordeal. Even subtle gestures during the interview are little tests you have to pass. You have to pick out that perfect outfit, shake the interviewer’s hand firmly, stand up straight and ensure you have engaging body language. With all the work you put into getting a call back for an interview, you now have to worry about getting through round two to land your new job.

Body language

As humans, it’s amusing how we experience so much, but remember the smallest quirks about people. That lady who wore too much makeup or the man wearing the loud suit. Even the way someone smells or greets you are memories that stay with you for a long time. And in an interview setting, you’re basically under a microscope and scrutinized on everything, even things you may not be able to help. To learn how to carry yourself with confidence and grace, you need to get some pointers on body language. An informative video titled, “Body Language That Gets The Job” from Forbes has some insightful points listed below on how you should appear during an interview.

Eye contact: I don’t know about everybody else, but I get very intimidated during an interview. I start looking here, there and everywhere. I know anyone watching me is thinking, “What is going on in her head?” But it’s just a reaction to feeling anxious. With that said, you need to look at your interviewer, don’t zone out, stare from side-to-side or do any other strange behaviors with your eyes. The video also suggests that when you’re trying to make a relevant point, you need to look directly at your interviewer and state your point from beginning to end.

Voice: You want your voice to sound inviting, warm and friendly. I know when I get nervous I start talking fast and the pitch of my voice changes, so be aware of how you sound. Pretend like you’re just meeting a friend from work. That always seemed to help me calm down in some of my past interviews. Also, when topics are getting serious, and you want to make a firm and memorable point, the material in the video suggests lowering the tone of your voice. Lowering your tone adds meaning to anything you are saying.

Posture: This video instructs a prospective candidate to sit in a very particular manner during the interview. It advises you to “drop back your shoulders when sitting.” This creates a confident pose. Also, when you want to show that you are interested in what the interviewer is saying the video recommends that you “tilt forward from the waist.”

Many of these small and subtle movements and gestures can be quite persuasive in creating an image of an interviewee who is easy to talk with and confident.

Let’s talk about you and me

For there to be any communication, something needs to be thought about to say. Hence, research becomes key. Before an interview, the very popular recommendation is to research the company you are trying to join, but what do you research? Some advice from an article from Forbes titled, “12 Surprising Job Interview Tips” written by Jon Youshaei  are to research earning calls, articles, blogs and quarterly earnings. Additional subjects to research can be competitors, company culture, company history and the industry. With all the information you can find out about a company, it’s easy to pick up on trends, successes, things that you like that the company is doing, and asking fundamental questions about how they do their outstanding work. You want to show the interviewer that you not only want to work for their company but already are beginning to understand their company.

Now the time has come for you to share and talk about all the benefits you have to offer. But we might have to do some cleaning up first. Youshaei has mentioned that there is an app called Social Sweepster. It can remove profanity and get rid of some very suspicious pictures. I love this very valuable tip. We all may have done something on social media that we regret, and now we can get a chance to make a good first impression.

How you research and figure out what you want to say about yourself is determined by the type of questions that will be asked during an interview. There are supposedly more than a 100 popular questions interviewer can ask. Below are three broad questions that are commonly asked in interviews that I feel encompass quite a few points to discuss.

  • Tell me about yourself? There’s so much to say when asked this question. We have to pick and choose the parts of your life and work experience that really tells a compelling as well as an informative story. We can talk about our college education, personal events or experiences that lead us to realize what we wanted to do professionally, and then how we worked to create a career in a specific field. When discussing your actual work that is relevant to the position, talk about specific achievements and strengths. This is more detailed than just stating a trait. Things like saving your company money by catching a mistake, streamlining a process or improving sales by implementing a new marketing plan are more expressive.
  • Why should I hire you? To answer this question, you really have to put yourself in your interviewer’s position. To help us do that, I found a video titled, “Why do you want to work Here – Common Interview Questions by Don Georgevich. According to Georgevich, the best way to answer this question is to determine what the “company’s goals are for the position.” To find this out, one may need to ask other workers in the company. This may be challenging so don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer about the goals of the position and then answer the question. In addition, Georgevich mentions that a candidate needs to “match up their skill set with each bullet point for the job description.” Furthermore, he states that an applicant needs to “determine the company values and give examples of how you share these values.” The company’s values can be found through research and their mission statement.
  • Why do you want to work here? This is where all the research you have done about the company becomes useful. Since you are trying to get a job at this company, I am assuming that there is something you really like about the subject company. Maybe they are innovative, ethical, have a strong sales department, organized or use the latest technology. Whatever it is, it should be a driving force to excite you to work there.
  • Analytical questions – For technical job interviews, sometimes job candidates are given an analytical question to answer. It’s important to show how you got to your answer. Show each step and the information you used for each step. It is okay to assume and make assumptions to guide your work. Interviewers want a clear picture of your thought process.

You’re now a bit more aware of what is on the horizon. So now you have some structure and guidance to research your answers to these common interview questions and really work on presenting yourself as an exemplary candidate.

What’s your weakness?

We all have something we’re not good at, but interviewers want to see how you overcame any weaknesses. If you are bad at bookkeeping, explain how you researched bookkeeping and started using an Excel spreadsheet to keep figures organized. Knowing you have a problem and then trying to rectify it shows the ability to be honest and a desire to improve yourself.

The bold question

You’re supposed to ask your interviewer questions after an interview, and I’m sure you could ask the standard questions about their benefits package, salary and holiday leave or you could ask a question that actually gets you into your interviewer’s head. Finally, a moment where a candidate can size up the interviewer. In the article written by Youshaei that discusses interview tips, he recommends that you should ask, “Have I said anything in this interview or given you any other reason to doubt that I am a good fit for the role?” If your interviewer says “Yes”, you have a chance to ask questions and even explain yourself. This is a second chance to fix a mistake you may have made. How cool is that?!

As the old saying goes, “Getting a job is a job in itself,” but with some preparation and strategic thinking you can improve your chances of landing that perfect job. Just be more calm, confident and well prepared so that new and exciting opportunities can come your way.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Elise is DCR’s HR Manager responsible for everything from compliance to employee relations to admin to just plain old fun. She believe in an “I’m on it” approach when it comes to dealing with being proactive and going above and beyond on the job or when conquering new projects, changes, and challenges.