6 Steps for Job Candidates to Have a Great Interview

Written by:

Kimberly Wilson

The role of job candidate is not one we play every day, but it is one that requires preparation. After all you have around one to six hours (depending on the companies interview structure) to introduce yourself to the company and make sure the company fits your career endeavors.

There are several things we are all told to do: dress professionally, make sure to shake hands firmly, have questions ready to ask the hiring manager, and follow up with thank you notes.  These are important, but they are only part of the process. The most important role a job candidate has is to really evaluate if the position and company are a fit for them.  At the same time, a job candidate needs to show they are a cultural fit to the hiring team. 

Here are some things to think about no matter what category you are in. Companies evaluated your resume and determined you have the necessary skills before you were even invited in.  They are now looking to validate those skills through conversation and to see if you fit in with the team. So what traits do companies look at?

The three important traits of a job candidate

These are three characteristics that are consistently published as the main things employers are looking for:

  1. Professionalism
  2. High energy level
  3. Confidence

Setting the stage for a successful interview

  1. The best way is to walk into a room ready to shake hands with each hiring team member.  Extend your hand immediately.
  2. Do make sure you to dress professionally in something you feel comfortable in.  If we like our clothing we show confidence.
  3. Be completely prepared.  Know who you are going to meet and do research on each person.  Do research on the company and anything you can learn about the area of business they are involved in.  This will be useful during your conversation. This knowledge also helps you to have the foundation to assess the culture of the company and the traits of the team.
  4. Practice! When I coach a job candidate for an interview I have typically asked them many questions about their skills and motivations prior to presenting them to my clients. If you are preparing without coaching it is best to mentally prepare. Interview yourself.  Ask yourself questions that you think you will hear and answer them the way you would in the interview.  Do this in front of a mirror.  This feels unnatural, but in many cases so does a job interview. So create a simulated environment. This will instill confidence and prepare you for any question.
  5. Self evaluate your confidence.  Ask yourself what is motivating you to look at this role.  Determine how you feel about the role and what it will feel like when you get an offer.  However, if you hear yourself saying you are not sure you are qualified for the job or thinking that there is surely someone they will pick over you, think about why you are self talking in a negative way. Unfortunately this will come across in the interview because it is in your subconscious.  This is usually our mind's way of protecting us, just in case you are not offered the position. We can say to ourselves “I knew it” and revert back to what we told ourselves earlier. If you are negatively talking to yourself than it is a good time to plot on paper what you like about the role.
  6. Write down what you bring to the party that qualifies you. Even if you don’t have all the skills necessary, but you know you can do the job, than you need to focus on what you do bring to the party.  This will help you answer the question about that skill.  This is great information to reflect on as you prepare to meet the hiring team.

With these interview practices, a job candidate will have a greater opportunity to show they are a fit for the role or to learn the role is not for them.  This will also help the candidate to show confidence immediately. Overall these steps will give the candidate the opportunity to worry less about the way to answer questions, create more time to evaluate the company’s culture and allow the company to learn more about how they will impact the company if invited to the team.

@Talent Link Resources Search LLC 2015

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