9 Smart Interview Strategies

by Thomas Byrne Associates | May 27, 2015

Byrns - Interview strat #1You’ve connected with a great staffing agency. Your resume guarantees being noticed and you meet the agency’s standards. They have an opening that fits your experience, skills and personality. Way to go. But, don’t start coasting . . . the interview with the company that has the opening is the next critical step. The first impression you make, how well you pitch the unique person and skillset that is you, and the clarity with which you answer the expected, “What can you do for us?” question will help determine if the ultimate end is a job offer.

These 10 interview strategies will give you an edge in today’s fiercely competitive job market.

  1. Do your homework

Learn all you can about the company’s history and current business dealings, their core values and mission, as well as their leadership.1 Where do they rank in their industry? What awards/distinctions have they recently received? How much has their business expanded in the last year? Making the effort to get the facts shows your strong level of interest in the company and the position.

  1. Prepare for interview questions

Study common interview questions via a plethora of internet lists. 2 Do not, however, memorize the example answers. “Canned” answers are spotted a mile away by experienced interviewers.  Remember, the interviewer will most likely offer you an opportunity to ask questions so be prepared with some powerful questions of your own.

  1. Practice your responses

Especially to the tougher questions. “What are your weaknesses?” Be candid, yet brief, about your weaknesses without making excuses. Mention steps you’re taking to improve. “How will hiring you benefit our company?” Expound at greater length on your strengths, experience, and accomplishments that would be most applicable and beneficial to the company.  Practice giving your responses with a friend or family member, perhaps even video yourself with your smartphone, to see how well you do.

  1. Study the job description

The Under Cover Recruiter suggests,

“Study the job description to truly understand what the interviewer is looking for. If the description calls for attentiveness to detail, you will want to tailor the discussion accordingly. Knowing this, you can navigate the interview and discuss examples from previous jobs that will exemplify this trait. Do this for all significant traits or qualities that you identify in the job description. This is one of the best job interview strategies I have used, and know that it can bring you success.” 3

  1. Make a great first impression

During the first minute, you can either gain an edge or lose points. An impeccable appearance, a firm handshake, and a steady gaze will swing the pendulum in your favor. Project a professional image with your choice of clothing and accessories. Show confidence with good posture, a natural smile, and by maintaining eye contact.

  1. Provide real life examples

Bring your strengths and experience to life with detailed examples from your previous jobs. Also, mention specific volunteer positions and the extent to which each provided an opportunity to practice or sharpen your skills. These illustrations of your capabilities will build credibility and makes you relatable.

  1. Be yourself

While the temptation to fit yourself into a pre-determined mold may be strong, especially if you really want the position, but resist the urge. No one wins if you pretend to be someone you’re not only to realize down the road that you are not a good fit for the job. Be sincere, be professional and be yourself. 

  1. Relax

Trust that you have prepared sufficiently, and then welcome the opportunity to sell yourself. Consciously fill your mind with positive thoughts, reminding yourself how your strengths and experience fit the position. If you’re relaxed, it will set the tone and allow the interviewer to also relax. 

  1. Follow up

It’s vitally important to send a thank you via email, with a handwritten note, or both 4 within a day of the interview.  Your goal is to be remembered for your prompt and sincere courtesy. Remember, last impressions always count.

Contact Thomas Byrne Associates for assistance in landing the interview and securing the perfect job for you, your unique skillset, and your personality.