While I had several interview opportunities over my youth, I will briefly share some of the most prominent. One time, I leaned forward and said to a visa officer after some questioning: “All my friends are in school and I just want to go to school”. That was the end of the interview – success. Then I interviewed for my first job right out of college. After talk of my being over qualified for the position, I again leaned forward and informed the interviewer: “I just want something to do, I want a job:. Again that was it. In a previous post, I talked about how I was laid off and interviewed for another job almost right away. We conversed for a while and then I told the lady: “I have commitments to Indiana and I will like to stay here for at least the next 2 years”. That was the turning point of the interview as she began to seek diligently how she could help. My personal experience with interviewing is that if you are sincere, straightforward, confident and speak to the interviewer as a human, a friend even, you will do well.
Below are 10 tactics you can use to ace any interview:
- Smile: It’s a small word said often but it’s effect can not be under estimated.
- Be Confident: Think of the many areas in your life where you have done well and use that to project the aura – I will do well again.
- Look the interviewer in the eyes: Don’t stare but hold his/ her gaze whenever you can. As you explain your points and give answers to the questions, ensure you catch the interviewer’s eyes.
- Prepare: Know your stuff before the interview. Look up information about the company you are interviewing with and mostly, look up information on the person/ people interviewing you. Draw up a profile of the interviewer in your mind.
- Never be late for an interview: Never
- It’s OK to admit you do not know the answer to a question, but follow it up by saying you can find the answer within 24 hours. And make sure you can.
- Send a thank you message: Ideally a day or 2 after the interview and reiterate your interest in the job. It also serves as a good follow up
- Whatever you do, don’t be desperate: Express interest in getting the job, but don’t show you are despetate. For example, “I will die if I don’t get this job”, or “I will be tossed out of my home if I can’t pay the bills this month”.
- The is not about you, it’s about the interviewer and the company. What do you bring to the table? What can you do for them. You must link everything you say back to how it will benefit the interviewer and the company
- Don’t go first with Salary requirements. Let the interviewer come first with a range and you affirm if you can play within it. If you are pushed to give a salary, say: “Sir/ Maam, at the end of the day, I will be operating within your company structure so give me the range you are willing to pay and I will be happy to tell you if it works”.
The truth is that jobs are mostly about relationships. Who you know still plays a big part in getting a job. That does not mean you have to know the CEO’s or Directors. Start with the colleagues you know, the people that attend your Church. Tell them you are seeking a new job opportunity and ask where they work. Then ask them if their company is hiring. Be blessed in your job search and in your general interviewing. To learn more about how to prepare for an interview, I recommend this excellent article by Forbes.