A job interview is your time to shine. While your resume enticed the hiring manager enough to want to meet you in person, the interview is your chance to show them why you would be a great fit for the company and the position. Most companies will go through several rounds of interviews before extending a job offer, so one of your key goals of your first interview should be to demonstrate your strengths and secure a second interview where you will have a chance to make even more of an impression on a hiring manager. There are certain things that can help you stand out during a first interview that can help translate into a more in-depth second interview, including the following three items:
Demonstrating Your Exceptional Preparation/Research Abilities
Hiring managers like to see candidates who are excited about the opportunity and have obviously done their research about the both the position and the company. Your goal shouldn’t be just to show that you know what the specific job entails, but also that you would be a great fit for both the position and the company culture. Don’t just talk about how you would be a great fit; give examples of how your skills and experience make you a candidate that they can’t pass up. Have this come through in questions that you ask at the end of the interview. If you can end your brief meeting demonstrating that you have done your research and know specifics about the company, they will take notice!
Practice the Art of Job Matching
The biggest question in an interview, the one you have to answer correctly, is one that the Hiring Manager isn’t even asking you. It’s a question they are asking themselves and it is: Would this person be the best person to do what we need done?
Job matching allows you to answer that question for the hiring manager, and that will help you stand out from other candidates.
Job Matching Steps
- Research to determine what the job entails. Sources of information include the job ad, the job description, coaching from your AppleOne Hiring Advisor, discussions with friends who work in the company, the company web site, LinkedIn profiles for people who had the job previously, etc.
- Outline key requirements, skills and tasks needed for the job. Focus on the 3 to 5 most important factors you are able to identify.
- Map your skills and experience to each job requirement and provide a specific example that demonstrates your competence in that area. For instance: It sounds like time management will be a critical skill for this role. In my previous job, I supported 3 executives, which as you may imagine requires exceptional time management skills. Each executive always got exactly what they needed when they needed it. In fact our CEO, Jane Smith told me she thought there must be 3 of me because she didn’t see how I always managed to get everything done.
Determine Their Schedule so You Know When to Follow-up
It’s a no-brainer that you need to leave a thank you note at the front desk before you leave your interview, but how about making sure that you know the time-frame for any decision making that will occur with the job? While they may give you just a general idea of when they hope to make a decision, that ball-park time frame will help you know when to further enquire about the job. If they say that they will make a decision in a couple of days, plan to call by the end of the week to inquire. On the other hand, if they say that it may take a month, plan to check in regularly during that time period. Showing a hiring manager that you are interested during the decision making process is important. In fact, many expect you to inquire, and could hold it against you if they notice you haven’t called if have to wait a little longer to make their decision.