10 Steps to Ace that Job Interview
1. Have your best stories aka “examples” planned out.
When someone says, “Tell me about yourself,” they don’t want to hear you rattle off a list of what you’ve done or what you’ve accomplished with no clear relationship to the job or how you achieved success. People want stories. Stories are what make you stick in people’s minds.
The problem is, most people can’t figure out a story to tell about themselves, so they start listing facts. This is boring, and research shows that listing facts about ourselves instead of telling stories actually makes us feel disjointed — which is, of course, no good in an interview. Compelling stories with good examples to show off your skills of course, and makes us believe in ourselves.
2. Master the behavioural interview.
When someone asks you a question that begins, “Tell me about a time when…” it’s a cue that you’re in a behavioral interview. There are established ways to answer this type of question.
The interviewer is trying to see how you acted in the past, which is a good predictor of how you’ll act in the future. You need to tell the interviewer about a situation you encountered, the action you took to solve the problem, and quantify the results. This is called the STAR response — Situation or Task, Action, Results. Always have your pre-planned examples above with a STAR response.
A similar method to the STAR Method is the SHARE Model for responding to behavioral-based job interview questions:
S — Situation; describe a specific situation;
H — Hinderances; identify any hindrances or challenges faced;
A — Action; explain the action(s) you took in response;
R — Results; discuss the results or outcomes from your action(s);
E — Evaluate; explain and evaluate what you learned from the experience.3. Don’t leave all your questions for the End.
Don’t wait until the end to ask good questions.
What’s the point? You just spent the whole interview telling the person you’re right for the job — it’s a little late to be asking questions about the job, right? So ask your questions at the beginning. And then use the answers to better position yourself for the job during the interview.
At the end, when the interviewer says, Do you have any questions?” you can say, “No, I think I asked everything I needed to ask at the beginning of the interview. But thank you” instead of thinking of a pile of pseudo-questions
4. Don’t worry too much about your Social Media Pages.
Unless you bashed your former boss! Or worse your current one! Many companies have values and ethics codes which involves not sharing company information with the public. Don’t comment on your friends defamation of anyone’s character, group or organization. Never participate in any conversation that will make you seem petty or unprofessional. And please don’t post information about your personal problems or a breakup on social media. Follow these guidelines.
5. Explain away job hopping and long gaps.
It doesn’t matter what you do with your time as long as you’re doing productive, interesting things. So a gap is fine, as long as you can talk about what you learned, and how you grew during the gap. And job hopping is fine as long as you can show you made a significant, quantifiable contribution everywhere you went. If you are new to Canada and immigration has caused a gap in your work experience, here are some resume tips.
6. Present a plan.
Show the interviewer that you’ve done a bit of thinking about the company and the job. Brendon Connelly at Slacker Manager suggests that you go to the interview with a plan for the first three months you’re in the job.
Show some humility — say, “This is just something I came up with that we might use to get the interview started.” Of course, you can only do this if you know a lot about the job. But the best way to get the job is to know a lot about it.
7. If you are fresh out of College – Manage your parents.
It’s common today for parents to be involved in their twentysomething child’s job hunt. Parental involvement is so ubiquitous during interviews for summer internship programs that companies like Merrill Lynch will actually send an acceptance letter to a parent if the candidate requests one.
But some parents hover so close by that they make their kid look incompetent. Get help from your parents, but don’t get too much. Check out CollegeRecrutier.com to find out where your parents fall on the spectrum.
8. Show that you can Anticipate and Plan for all Players in the Organization
You’ll probably interview with more than one person who has a different role at the company example, HR, Finance, Marketing etc. And each person you talk with will have some sort of personal agenda that will infiltrate your interview. Your job is to identify the role of the person you’re talking to so that you can give the type of answer they’re looking for. Typically, they will all look for answers that show you are sensitive to each Department’s role within the organization. They will want to know that you know to include them at every stage of a project – at the earliest time possible in order to have maximum project success. Show that you know how to work across multi-disciplinary functions and that you can anticipate ahead of time what the Marketing and Finance Department will need from you.
9. Practice. A lot.
An interview isn’t an improvisation — it’s a rehearsed performance. And it’s no mystery what the most common interview questions are, so prepare you answers. Even if you end up fielding a question you didn’t anticipate, surely a version of one the 50 answers you did prepare will work with the surprise question.
10. Knock Em Dead
On the Day of the interview review all of these points – its easy to forget. Go in with all your pre-panned examples that have a STAR or SHARE outline. As questions throughout the interview and present a plan for the position. Know how you will explain gaps or job-hopping. As the saying practice makes perfect, and with all the preparation you’ve done – you should be able to ace that interview!