Hiring managers have a deep pool of candidates for most positions so they are seeking the best fit for both skills and personality and they can afford to be selective. Candidates need to “wow” the employers in the interview to stand out from the crowded field of candidates. What makes a candidate pop for the hiring managers?
- Preparation – They expect that every candidate will have reviewed their website. The candidates who stand out have gone further, reviewed the website in detail, read about the company in WSJ and other periodicals, researched the industry trends and issues and identified and done preliminary research on the competition. How does this show in the interview? These candidates ask very insightful questions of their interviewers and ask specific follow-up questions. They are also able to tailor their responses to what is most important to the company.
- Have examples that demonstrate your strengths – when answering behavioral questions, be sure you have examples to share that clearly demonstrate your strengths and show how you go above and beyond. For example if you were an analyst they expect that you can “crunch” lots of data and prepare a summary. What wows them is if you have an example where you did the data analysis, identified some key trends, did further research on those trends, identify an issue and solved the problem or make key recommendations about next steps. Can you effectively use the data to support decision making?
- Demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm – Sounds obvious but it is often overlooked. Be engaged and attentive throughout the interview. Ask insightful questions. Take a few notes. Refer to notes if needed. Let the employer know you are excited about the opportunity and why. Let them know the value you bring to their organization and how you meet their needs.
- Solve Their Problems and Ease Their Pain – Yes in an interview you are selling yourself but if that is all you do you likely won’t land the job. The hiring manager had a business problem to solve or pain to relieve. Show them how you can add value by solving the problem or relieving the pain. Focus on what you can do for them.
- Be Interested and Interesting – Show interest in the interviewer, take cues from what’s in their office to zero in on an interest or hobby. Show that you care about them as a person. Be prepared to reveal a bit about your interests if asked as well. Be someone they would want to work with on a daily basis. If the interviewer starts wishing the interview was over, you are not going to get the job. Be personable but also be genuine.
- Say Thank You – At the end of your interview you should always say thank you and reinforce your interest but to stand out from the crowd you should always send a handwritten thank you note within 24 hours of the interview. Reference something specific you discussed. Send a note to each interviewer and be sure to personalize them.
Don’t get lost in the crowd of qualified candidates, follow this advice to ensure that you ace your interview.