Actors rarely say they love auditions. A few do. Most, however, despise these mini performances before an audience of three people and a camera. Yet it’s something every star endures. Pretty much every one of them had to go through dozens, even hundreds of auditions to land that career-changing role.
Interviews are like auditions. Most candidates loathe this penultimate process before the offer. Yet here’s the thing. Landing an interview means you’ve already leapfrogged over hundreds of candidates. Glassdoor reported a few years ago that the average corporate job opening gets 250 résumés but less than six candidates actually gets an interview. The number of submissions has surely climbed since the COVID-19 pandemic upended the job market. Still, it’s not just that the hiring manager is selecting from amongst a handful of people. Chances are your competition isn’t too fond of interviews either. So set yourself apart. Embrace the process. Learn from the experience. And most of all, utilize these six ways to get the job at an interview.
You might feel like many aspects of earning a job are beyond your control. Yet the truth is the days you spend before the interview matter. Research the company. Almost half of all hiring managers give an automatic “pass” to candidates who aren’t knowledgeable about the company. After all, why would they hire someone who could be happy anywhere? Like first dates, companies want to feel special.
This is why preparing is number one on the six ways to get the job at an interview.
That’s because at least one out of three candidates doesn’t research the hiring company online. By learning all you can about what they do and their challenges, you will set yourself apart. Discover how the department you hope to join has handled those. Consider what you will bring to the job. If you can, look up the person or people conducting the interview. You never know what nuggets you will notice. Write down questions you can ask them –– intelligent queries can also set you apart. Don’t neglect sites that offer multiple viewpoints on the company like GlassDoor and LinkedIn.
2. Become Pitch Perfect
Elevator pitches are tight bits of material you can deliver in the space of time it takes a lift to travel several floors. They are less than one minute and less than one-hundred words. They are also deceptively difficult. They key is honing your delivery as you answer standard questions like, “Tell us a bit about yourself” or “What do you think you can bring to this position.” Enlist a trusted friend to listen as you deliver your pitch. Avoid sounding rehearsed while eliminating conversational pauses like “uhmm” or “like.” Remember, they have already read your resume. Your job in the interview is to reveal what that document can’t: your personality. Consider discussing the inspiration that led you to get into your line of work? Reveal how passionate you are about your career. You can also use this pitch to segue into a very brief summary of the skills you hold which are most relevant to the position.
3. Dress for the Job You Desire
In some ways, business fashion is more complicated than it was a few decades ago. Start by looking at the company’s website and other material that may have actual photos (rather than stock pictures). If you have an acquaintance who works there, ask about the style of dress. You can also ask the recruiter, if you have one. Fewer men these days are wearing ties but there are only a handful of creative or tech companies where it’s actively looked down upon. You should avoid wearing a tuxedo to your interview. But you should probably leave the jeans at home as well. Avoid open-toed shoes as well –– no one wants to see your feet!
4. Speak the Right (Body) Language
We all have different defaults. What is your resting posture and facial expression? If you tend to look angry and unapproachable even when you aren’t, be aware of this. Posture matters. Sitting up straight does more than make you look eager to work (rather than in need of a nap). It also improves your vocal delivery.
5. Manners Matter
Greet the interviewer(s) warmly. No doubt the handshake has gone the way of poodle skirts and landlines, but start off with a pleasant smile. Think of happy things before your appointment. Also, don’t arrive more than 15 minutes early (but don’t arrive late either). Just as early arrivals to dinner parties are likely to find frazzled hosts dealing with meal prep, early interview arrivals force the interviewer to shift focus.
Thank the interviewer(s) for meeting with you at the opening and closing of the interview. Use their names as much as possible. Practice active listening –– rather than waiting for someone to pause so you can say what’s on your mind. At the close, ask when they will be making a decision (if they haven’t already offered the info). Within 24 hours of the interview send a thank you email reiterating your interest in the position and your gratitude for the opportunity.
Both before and after the interview, work your network. You never know what assistance your professional acquaintances can offer. By taking the right steps before the interview, you have a much better chance of landing the job afterward.
Ready to discover your career purpose? Click HERE for a FREE course to discover your most authentic career!