- May 6, 2020
- Posted by: Dan Trudeau
- Category: Interview Tips
3 Big Tips On Nailing Your Interview
We’ve been in the recruiting business for thirty years, which means we long ago lost count of the number of people we’ve coached through the interviewing process. Most of them regarded interviewing as a test they must pass. They believed the main objective was to communicate how their experience matched the job’s qualifications.
They weren’t wrong. Matching qualifications to your experience is the number one goal for both interviewer and interviewee. That said, I’ve had several candidates get offers over others who had even better qualifications.
They were able to do this through three methods. You won’t get hired based on these factors alone, but they can make the difference between getting the job and being the runner-up.
1. BUILDING RAPPORT
When a manager, or team, is interviewing someone, there’s one consideration rarely discussed: is this someone I’ll look forward to seeing every day?
This doesn’t mean they’re looking for a new best friend. The question is whether the attitude of the interviewee would have a positive impact on the team. A bad one can negate the advantages of strong qualifications. Someone who brings good energy can help lift the team through their biggest challenges.
The best way to communicate with you’ll be a positive team member is by building rapport. How do you do that?
- Make sure you’re presenting yourself with a positive attitude. Maintain good eye contact and posture. You can talk about why you’re looking, but don’t trash talk your past or current teams.
- Compliment their ideas and accomplishments. It has to be honest, though. It’s obvious when you’re kissing up.
- Let them know you’re interested in the position during the wrap-up and tell them why.
- This sort of rapport building will leave them wanting the process to continue.
2. PREPARE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
With notable exceptions, there will always be other candidates with an experience like yours. Your accomplishments will set you apart, as they’re unique to your history.
- Well before the interview, ask yourself:
- What did you change that made your teamwork better?
- Was there a skill required you were able to learn quickly to get the job done?
- Did you create a track record of tangible successes?
- What awards did you receive and how did you earn them?
These accomplishments make you unique, plus they communicate you aren’t a clock-puncher. You made a difference. Plus, you’ve shown you can learn new aspects of a job in short order.
Break down your accomplishments with the SAR method (Situation, Action, Result):
- Situation: What was the issue or challenge you had to face? What were its origins and how did you get the opportunity to solve it?
- Action: What was your plan of action and how did you carry it out? Make sure to highlight the small challenges and successes you had along the way.
- Result: How it worked out. This is where you illustrate, in tangible ways, how you improved the situation. The more you can tie it to numbers (I saved xxx amount of money or time), the better. You can find examples of SAR stories online. Make sure you know yours well.
3. THINK OF IT AS A BUSINESS MEETING
The interview shouldn’t focus on your experience and resume alone. At some point, you need to start asking questions to shift into an “I already work here” mindset. Use your SAR stories to illustrate how you can help them overcome their current challenges and reach their goals as if you’re already on the team.
These can include:
- What is your biggest technical challenge right now?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What do you need me to accomplish in the first 30, 60, or 90 days?
Start working with them once they answer. Now you’re having a meeting, not an interview. It’s the best way for everyone to get a sense of what it will be like to work together.
When it comes to getting a job offer, your qualifications are your best asset, but not your only one. By building rapport, highlighting your accomplishments, and making it a business meeting, you can put yourself at the top of the list.
PRA USA is ready to work with you through the entire hiring process. With 30 years of experience, we know how to get your career moving in the right direction. Contact us to discuss what we can do for you.