How to Nail a Job Interview

How do you successfully interview with a prospective employer? In every industry and for every position, hiring managers are looking for you to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). Securing a position with any employer relies on the your ability to exhibit those KSAs during the recruiting and interviewing process. Doing so will ultimately secure your employment. So what are some tips to highlight those KSAs and nail the interview?

1. Research the KSAs for the given position/employer.

These can easily be found in the company job descriptions. With that said, there are some qualities sought by employers that are not placed on the job descriptions. So where do you look for that information?

Research those currently employed with the organization. What’s their background? What activities do they participate in and what are their interests? I’ve never conducted an interview and come out saying, “That person did too much research and was over prepared,” but I have come out saying, “That candidate did little to no research and was not prepared.” Strive to leave the former impression, rather than the latter. LinkedIn and other similar outlets are great resources to gain this information if it is not readily available on the company website.

2. Be “old school” professional. Not Will Ferrel or Vince Vaughn “Old School.”

No matter how relaxed the organizational culture is, interview as if. That is as if you are interviewing at the largest corporate structure that requires professional business attire on a daily basis. Interview as if the company culture adheres to traditional and professional etiquette. Even if the work environment is one that fosters creativity and individualization, your interview behavior should display your professionalism at all times.

Don’t browse Facebook while you wait. Don’t send out text messages between interviewers. Demonstrate that the organization’s time is more valuable than yours, even if that is not the case. You are there to impress the employer, not the other way around.

3. Be calm. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Interviews can be considerably stressful. Becoming anxious or nervous adds undue stress and pressure, and may cause the interview to become uncomfortable and unproductive.

Instead remain calm. This calm will help you provide truthful, insightful answers that demonstrate your true self as a prospective employee. This is how you truly stand out from other applicants. Some of the worst answers you can provide in an interview are carbon copied ones that interviewers hear on a daily basis. Do you really want to work in a place where your true self is not valued by an employer?

And remember: good interviewers will do their best to create a calm and welcoming interview, in order to receive pertinent information from you.

4. Research what questions you can expect to be asked.

There are standard questions that every interviewer asks. Researching and preparing for certain questions will allow you to respond effectively. However, respond in a way that doesn’t appear rehearsed. Again, the interviewer is looking for candid responses. Prepare don’t recite.

5. Prepare to ask relevant questions at the end of the interview.

Nothing displays less interest in the position or the company than a candidate not asking questions. Even if you think you know the answer to a question, ask anyways. This is your chance to turn the table and gather information for yourself from the interviewer. Don’t leave the interview without asking at least three questions.

6. Go for the close!

At the end of your questioning, close with asking “What are the next steps?” or by stating “I believe I’m the right candidate for this position and would very much like an offer of employment.” In doing so, you turn the tables again on the interviewer and put them on the “hot seat.” Make them address this close so that you have a gauge of where you stand.

7. Finally, follow up in a timely and consistent manner.

Organizations often have start dates that don’t sync with when you interviewed, so stay top of mind with the interviewer. If the interviewer asks you to follow up in a couple days or once a week, do so. Don’t overdo it. Following up every day may seem like you’re persistent and expressing great interest in employment, but it may become an inconvenience to the interviewer.

Follow these simple rules while adding your individuality. Make it a unique experience for both you and the interviewer. In doing so, chances are you will stand out from the rest of the applicants, increasing your chances on nailing the interview and securing employment.

Happy job hunting!