Top 5 Ways to Impress in an Interview
I can tell you everything there is to know about the interview process. How? Because I’ve been on both sides of the table. As an interviewer, I’ve had to find a way to quickly assess candidates and make recommendations that will resonate with my team and the client. And as a candidate, I’ve had to learn how best to sell myself in order to land opportunities that would move me closer toward my career goals.
Now, before we get started on this list of ways you can impress your next interviewer: let’s be clear about something: not all interviews are created equal! So while some tips might apply universally across industries (e.g., “Be yourself”), others may depend on exactly what kind of role you are interviewing for, as well as what type of company it is (e.g., “Do your homework on who will be interviewing).”
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: You’re going to be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in the interview. This is not the time to lie about how much you love waking up at 6 am every day for a 3-hour march up a mountain with nothing but your bare hands and a packet of freeze-dried tuna on hand.
Practice answering questions about what you like doing outside of work and what your career goals are by taking some time beforehand to think over those things so they’re fresh in your mind when the interviewer asks them.
Pay attention to the details.
The first thing you should do is pay attention to the details. This means dressing appropriately, being on time, polite, prepared and friendly. And if you want to truly impress your interviewer (and indeed be invited back for another interview), then show confidence in yourself.
Research the company, industry and role.
You have Google at your fingertips. If you’re going up against other candidates, get ahead of your competition by doing some homework. Make sure that you know more than they do about the role and company before the day of your interview.
Look at their website: What does it tell you about them? Is there a mission statement or core values page? Check out their social media accounts too—how do they interact with customers and potential hires? Do they share photos from events and client meetings on Instagram? Are there videos of employees talking about what it’s like working at this company? All of these things can give insight into how much culture matters to them, which is important information when deciding whether or not to work for someone (or somewhere).
You can also use Google search operators like “inurl:” or “intitle:” along with keywords related to what skills are needed for this particular job opening; for example, if I’m applying for a position as a content strategist in digital marketing then I might type “intitle:content strategist” into Google; or if I am looking specifically for an entry-level position within digital marketing then instead I might type “entry level intitle:”
Do your homework on the interviewer(s).
It’s always a good idea to do your homework on the company and interviewer(s). The more you know about them, the better prepared you’ll be for the interview. You can find out about a company by looking at recent press releases and other announcements on their website, reading reviews online, or even asking friends or family members who have worked there in the past.
For example, if you’re interviewing with someone from a large corporation like Google or Apple who has had several interviews with other candidates before yours (and thus has many more experiences than anyone else), then it may help to read up on those interviews so that you can bring something new and interesting to the table.
Anticipate tricky questions and have thoughtful answers prepared in advance.
This is where you need to take the time to prepare for what you think will be asked. For example, if you’re applying for an accounting job and they ask you about your weaknesses, don’t say “I’m too controlling” (unless maybe this is a trait that works well for their company). Instead, have some alternative answers ready!
If I were interviewing someone for a position and they told me their weaknesses were that they work too hard and are sometimes impatient, I’d probably hire them on the spot. It shows they’re willing to admit their shortcomings—and it shows me that they care enough about being good at what they do that they want to improve themselves. This is a key part of succeeding in any field: constantly striving towards improvement while still acknowledging your shortcomings.
A great interview can help you land a great job.
A great interview can help you land a great job. An interview is like a first date, but with more opportunities to impress. And if you’re not looking to impress anyone, then why are you even interviewing? If you do your homework and make an effort to impress the interviewer, then you might land the job of your dreams. Good luck!