Interviews can be extremely stressful, before, during, and after. This stress often comes hand-in-hand with anticipation if you’re applying for your dream job. Interviews can come with a feeling of desperation if you have been out of work for a while or need to provide for yourself and your family. Whatever the case may be, you want to be ready.
As a former Executive Recruiter and long-time professional coach, here are the four key things I tell my clients before heading into a big interview.
Research the Company
Beyond the basic knowledge of understanding the work you are applying for, researching the company can give you a competitive edge. Not only will you be able to discuss the great things the company is doing, but you’ll also be able to identify the challenges they face.
Why is this important?
When you know the challenges a company is facing, you’ll be able to convey how your skills can solve these problems. Think of yourself as a salesperson. When you are selling something, you don’t sell a product or service; you sell a solution. In an interview, you’re selling yourself. Don’t just focus on your skills, focus on aligning them to better the company.
Get to Know the Interviewer
While you’re researching the company, try to determine who will be sitting in on the interview. Chances are, you’ll at least be able to identify one interviewer by your correspondence or the name attached to the job posting.
By finding out more about the interviewer, you will be able to find common ground in advance. This approach can help you develop a rapport with your interviewer and put you at ease during questioning. If, after the interview process, you find yourself equally qualified with another applicant your chances of success are higher based on your developing relationship with the interviewer. People tend to trust their intuition.
Know Your Weakness
You know how it goes during interviews: there are always questions pertaining to your strengths and weaknesses. Identifying our strengths is easy. Most people focus solely on their strengths during interview prep.
Being able to identify your weaknesses is important. Be prepared to identify not only your weaknesses but how you’ve overcome them in the past and how it can become a growth opportunity.
For example, if you know your weakness is getting overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork on your desk in a way that is debilitating to your productivity, organization and smart filing methods may be your solution. By being diligent in your organizational skills, you are able to not only overcome this weakness but create a systematic approach that promotes cross-functional teamwork and an efficient workflow.
Speak Volumes with Body Language
Conversation is only partially about words. Where words fail, your body speaks. Your posture, your expressions, and your perceived level of comfort send subliminal messages to your interviewer. Looking slouched and bored will have a negative effect, whereas sitting tall, being attentive, and leaning into the conversation convey your attentiveness and engagement.
When you’re nervous, you may be prone to shaking hands, wandering eyes, and nervous tics. Find a comfortable place for your hands, make eye contact, and be aware of your tells. Remember to smile! It seems like an obvious consideration, but a genuine smile creates a positive, engaging environment.
You’ve Got This!
There are a lot of things to consider before the big interview. Of course, there are the topics I mentioned above, but you also need to be aware of your interview strategy, job offer negotiation, and how you market yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out for interview coaching services in advance. With the right amount of preparation and your unique skill set, you’ll walk into the big interview prepared to shine!
For more information on Bloom Leadership’s interview coaching services, click here.
Meredith Wailes is an Accredited Personal & Professional Development Coach, President of Bloom Leadership, and a founding member and the Chair of Membership for the Private Directors Association- Charlotte Chapter. She is also the creator of “SeeD,” a scholarship fund dedicated to female leaders who manage, operate, and/or own for-profit businesses in Charlotte, NC. For more information visit Meredith on LinkedIn and Twitter.