How to Crush it in Your Interviews
We asked Reddit how interviewees typically bomb their interviews so we could tell you how to crush it.
Here’s what we got:
Dress Properly for Interviews
Treat your interviews like a casting call. You are about to audition to play a role in this company, so you’d better look the part.
Don’t show up to an interview dressed like a funeral director if you’re there to speak with a marketing firm. A good rule of thumb is to check out their website for cues on your wardrobe choices. The website will be a good indication of how they see themselves in the marketplace. You’ll be on the right track if you try to emulate their choices.
Then, make sure your shoes are shiny and the tag on the back of your shirt isn’t flopped out. Take a quick spin in front of a mirror to tighten up your look. (Another reason to arrive early!) You got this.
There’s a fine line when it comes to enthusiasm, we get it. You don’t want to come off as wild and too excitable or unprofessional. But being present and engaged goes a long way. So, silence your phone and don’t let your thoughts wander off. Make sure the interviewer knows you’re interested in the job. If you can manage it, be friendly. See point number 1. You are auditioning, so let them know you want to be part of the team.
It’s better to over-prepare and sound a touch rehearsed in your answers than to appear confused and flub your responses. So, get good at answering common interview questions. Practice with a friend, mentor, teacher, parent, or anyone else willing to help you. And, be ready to talk about your skills and interests. Make sure your interviewer knows that you know how to solve their problems. After all, that’s what they want to hire you to do.
Body language accounts for over half of business communication. If you slouch, look at the floor, and shrug your shoulders, you’re not going to lead the hiring manager to believe you can do the job. So, put on your power playlist and stand in a superhero pose. Strut around in your best outfit and drum up that confidence.
Here’s something to remember. That employer needs to hire someone and it might as well be you. So, don’t give them a reason to second guess your body language, handshake, or eye contact. If you need to pretend you’re wearing a crown or a cape, do it.
Be Honest About Your Industry Knowledge and Skills
“I’m going to ask behavioral interviewing questions in the interview. If you say you can do something but cannot give me an example of actually doing it, you’re lying and you’re toast.”
“…otherwise, lying about qualifications on your resume (don’t list advanced excel or Bloomberg knowledge if you truly have none).”
Do not try to B.S. your way through interviews. Most hiring managers can smell a faker a mile away. In fact, it has become such a common problem that many companies require skills assessments before they’ll even look at you. (That’s why we offer them to basic talent members!)
If you don’t know a skill, that’s fine. Be honest about it and let the interviewer know that while you may not have X skill, you do have Y skill and that makes you feel confident you can learn X with a few YouTube tutorials. Many skills are cross-industry, so explain how your skills are applicable to their industry. In addition, if you go to an interview in a specialized field, know something about that field. For example, research some basic information about the company, its supply chain, and competitors.
Whatever you do, don’t waste your interviewer’s time by fibbing about what you know. The worst possible outcome is they hire you and you have no idea what to do, and burden the organization that invested a lot of resources by hiring you. Just don’t do it.
Be Early to Your Interviews
“To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late is to be forgotten.”
Hopefully, that is crystal-clear. Be 15 minutes early for your interview – make it a personal rule. Most importantly, don’t let time get away from you that morning. To avoid running late, lay out your clothes the night before, check the traffic, and get yourself caffeinated, fed, and dressed with time to spare. Have your Uber or Lyft app ready if your bus is late, your ride flakes out, or your car won’t start. If you don’t know where you’re going, add another 15 minutes to find the right offices.
Arriving early lets the interviewer know key facts about you: you’re dependable, professional, self-directed, courteous, and a critical thinker. It doesn’t matter how good your school was. If you’re late, you’re forgotten.
You’re There to Solve Their Problems
Go into your interview ready to ask about what the company needs.
“What challenges is this department facing right now that I might be able to help with?”
“Where do you think the skills gap is in this area of the company? How can I best fill the gap?”
“What skills does the manager need in their department that they currently don’t have?”
Come prepared with solid questions about how your skills can solve the problems of your potential employer. Remember that they need to hire someone, and it might as well be you. So, in the same way, that you don’t want to lie about what you can do, don’t be shy about confidently explaining what you can offer.