We’ve been showing you how to prepare for and maximize your effectiveness in switching jobs in our last couple of blogs. Today I’m going to ice that cake by telling you how to slam dunk an interview once you do find a place you want to work.
Interviewing is a skill and a very important one at that. Especially in our industry! We’re always interviewing… it’s how we sell ourselves to prospective clients. It’s how we make B2B connections. It’s how we advance to positions that will improve our lifestyles. And if you’re a hiring manager, it’s how we build the teams that get us where we want to be. For now, let’s focus on how to go in as an interviewee and dominate the dojo.
Most questions you will probably get in an interview will be behavioral so plan accordingly.
“Tell me about a time when…” the interviewer will ask. What did you do when a co-worker pissed you off? How did you handle a nightmare customer service situation? How did you grow your business during a pandemic? Hiring managers don’t give a good hoot what your resume says at the end of the day. They want to know what you’re like in action without all the fluffy language.
So, do you remember those records I told you to keep in our last blog? Add situational awareness to the list of things to track. Keep your notebook full of instances that you encounter in the work setting and how you handled them. If it went to shit because of a bad decision on your part, cool! Write down what lesson you learned from that and how you would act differently next time. That way when you are asked to give an example of such an instance you are prepped to knock their socks off.
When asked such questions there is a good way to answer the question and a knock-down-drag-out-absolute-stellar way to answer the question. Here’s a simple template for the latter:
- State the situation or problem
- State the action that you took to address the problem
- State the result of your work thoroughly
- State what you did right, wrong, and what you would do differently and why
If you drop that on a interviewer in the heat of the moment and without flinching they will be very impressed. I know I would be and I generally don’t like people so I’m hard to impress.
Prepping for this isn’t as easy as going through your resume and thinking of examples that would pertain to what’s there. No, no, no. Don’t get me wrong… do that, but in order to be fully prepared think of things that are not listed or related to your resume and prep for possible questions. Try to put yourself in the interviewers seat and think about what they are looking for.
What problems is the role likely to face?
What kind of problems is the company face with as a whole?
Get as extensive with this prep as possible and you will be able to face all behavioral problems with relative ease.
Remember, an interview is a two-way street. My wife once told me that whoever talks less in an interview wins. So, go into the interview with a laundry list of stuff you want to know about the company, it’s work environment, how they handle different situations, etc. You can get as freaky as you want with this, it’s all about what’s important to you and what will make you happy there. Don’t let an interviewer off the hook by not grilling them as much if not more than they are grilling you.
That may sound weird but I will tell you this. As a hiring manager there are few things less impressive than going through an interview with an applicant and not getting any questions. That tells me you didn’t research us or you just don’t care and are probably pretty lackadaisical in general and that’s not who I’m looking for. If I’m getting put to task in an interview I know I have a great candidate in front of me.
Finally, when all the questions are answered and right before it’s time to wrap up, drop THE question on them.
“Yes, I have just one more question.”
“What’s that, Bob? I’d be happy to answer that one final question for you.”
“Is there anything that gives you reason for pause or concern that I may not be fit for this role?”
You just put them in the hot seat. You just threw the a curve they probably weren’t expecting. You just closed the deal!
Now, there is always the chance that you are, in fact, not qualified for the position. That’s fine. Good for you for shooting for the stars. But what does that question give you in that instance? An immediate answer! You’re hot shit and don’t have time for people to make up their minds. You want… no you need answers now. And you just got one. Maybe not the one you wanted but you’re at least in the know on what to expect and can move forward without wasting time waiting on an answer you don’t want anyways.
Now let’s say you nailed the interview and they got nothing but a “well, uhhhhh, no! We have no reason to hesitate in hiring you. ”
You just made them say it which puts the exclamation point on their conversation with you. Nice job!
Interviewing can be daunting and still could be no matter how well you prep, but if you follow these simple steps you will have more confidence and comfort going in and that is a game changer.
Go get ’em!