Gaining Control in the Interview
These days, unemployment seems more like a rite of passage than a national epidemic. Students, graduates, and seasoned veterans from all walks of life are being bombarded by headhunters, job search agents, and contract work. Our self-esteem has been reduced to relying on the simple contents of an automated email notifying us to use to more keywords on our resume. While the hunt for a job can seem like a never-ending pit of despair, here is a small list of simple steps you can use in an interview to set yourself apart from other candidates.
Be Confident and Congruent – Own your resume and the interview
Do a little soul searching here. Instead of asking the world why you can’t find a job, ask yourself if what you are saying is congruent with what is on your resume. It is important to note that hard skills can be taught to anyone, and interviewers are normally quick to spot a fabricated answer. After all, sometimes illustrating the knowledge of how to find an answer can be just as powerful as having the correct answer.
Differentiate Yourself – Being different in the job market
Sadly enough, employers are swarmed by hundreds of resumes a day. In the interview it is important to show a difference between yourself and other potential candidates. “Compound communication” is a term I use, and it can help set you apart from other job candidates. Compound communication can be best described as communicating two messages simultaneously using multiple channels of communication. Next time you’re asked to solve a problem during an interview, request permission to use a white board. Doing this will display several desirable traits like the ability to solve problems, confidence, and a unique interview approach. Another great idea is bringing in an old project or a unique “token” that says something about you. These small details can help differentiate you from the pack.
Do Your Interview Homework – Know who, why, what, and how
Oddly enough, it is not surprising how many job candidates get caught off guard in an interview. Before going into an interview, figure out the who, what, why, and how. Creating an interview map like this will help create a more conversational environment and less of a question and answer drill session.
Who – What is the company’s name and what business are they in? How does the job you are going to perform make the company’s business more profitable? If you are unsure, these are great questions to bring up during your interview.
Why – Why are you applying to the company and why are you a good fit for them? Remember being confident is not a sin; own the skills you bring to the table.
What – What job are you going to perform? What skill set are you going to bring to perform that job? What added bonuses are you going to bring that add value to the firm?
How – Look back at other jobs, projects, or structured events. How did you react to the responsibilities and mold your duties into your own? Think about the job you are interviewing for and visualize how you can add value to this position.
When going through some of these questions, it is important to note many questions you will ask yourself boil down to one thing. How can you quickly add value to the organization you are applying to?
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away From a Job Offer – Hold your ground
It is a sad truth that hungry dogs don’t get fed and when you recognize the ability to walk away from any job offer you gain so much power in the job search process. It can be very difficult to walk away from a bad job offer, but this attitude can do wonders for you during the interview process. It goes back to being confident and understanding the value you bring by not settling for less than what you want and deserve.
Bringing it all together
Bringing this list together in an interview can be pretty challenging. However, the point is when you walk into an interview, you need to be focused on yourself and not the employer. Following the steps outlined above will help you deliver the appropriate message and make a meaningful impact on the hiring manager. So the next time you walk into an interview, remember to take a deep breath, lean back slightly, and provide answers based on your skills and not what you think the interviewers want to hear.