5 Tips to Crushing Your Interview in 2020
Let’s say it’s been a while since you’ve applied for a new job, let alone interviewed for a new job. You might be in the uneasy position of not really knowing what to expect from the process.
How we interview in 2020 may be different, but with a bit of preparation, you’ll find that it’s not as intimidating as it seems – and that your skillset and confidence are still key.
Ultimately, the process of interviewing candidates and making a hiring decision has evolved since different technologies and tactics have become more popular and effective. But, as the interviewee, if used to your advantage, technology can provide you with more insight, effective preparation, and overall courage and knowledge prior to your interview.
There’s no better feeling than confidence, and we hope that these 5 tips to crushing your interview in 2020 will provide you with the determination you need to ace your interview, no matter how long it’s been.
Prepare to impress without the in-person handshake
In many industrustries, shelter-in-place orders have put a hold on in-person interviews, replacing them with virtual options such as phone and video calls. Previously only used to screen prospective employees prior to the in-person interview process, Covid-19 has turned virtual options from non-compulsory to essential. These radical changes have provided interviewees with a new set of obstacles to overcome, and skills to convey.Conversational skills, for example, become even more crucial when you’re speaking to somebody virtually – let alone someone you need to impress. Speaking clearly and confidently, knowing when to take breaks for a response, how long to take those breaks, and most importantly, avoiding the dreaded rambling (which on a phone call, can be difficult to do) are key in maintaining a comfortable and fluid conversation.Make sure you don’t rush, allow for follow-up questions, and make it a two-way conversation.If your interview is scheduled as a video call, make sure you’re dressed to impress. And yes, that means on your bottom half, too. Check your internet connection and test your conference tool prior to your call, make sure your battery is full or your device is charging, and stay engaged and responsive during the entire interview.Just because you’re behind a screen doesn’t mean the interviewer won’t be able to tell whether or not you are completely invested in the conversation. Treat the interview as if you’re in-person, and give it your undivided attention.
Self-evaluate your social media accounts
Before investing in an official background check, your interviewer will likely do some inquiring of their own. A quick google search will provide them with your social media accounts, maybe some blog posts, forums, or past employer websites.In fact, Business News Daily states that according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and this number has likely increased.We know that you can’t control everything that shows up, but you can control your social media accounts. Keep in mind that this does not mean you should make the hasty decision of deleting your accounts – which can come across as both unprofessional and inexperienced. Business News Daily found that about half of employers, 47%, said they wouldn’t even call a person for an interview if they couldn’t find them online.There are a few things you can do, including updating your LinkedIn profile with certificates, skills, and career experience and highlights. Self-evaluate all of your accounts and make sure you’re painting yourself in the best light. Ultimately, hiring managers aren’t looking for reasons not to hire you, they’re looking for reasons TO hire you. They want to see where and how your skills will align with the position they’re trying to fill.
Don’t skimp on researching the organization
Your interviewer will be doing some research, and you should be doing the same! A huge part of preparing for an interview is taking time to learn about the organization you’ve applied for.We recommend spending a minimum of 30 minutes researching the company. Take notes on anything you find important, that you’d like more information on, or have questions about. Prior to your screening call, you should know what you’ve applied for and who you’ve applied for.This means reviewing job descriptions, company websites and LinkedIn pages, and if you know, who’s doing the interviewing – to see if you have any mutual connections, common certifications, interests, etc.Make sure to note any good speaking points, ways you’d be an asset to the company, or a good fit culturally.The last thing you want to do is enter an interview unprepared. Taking time to explore the organization will put you in a positive light, and hopefully will provide you with valuable insight as to whether or not you’re passionate about the role itself.
Get your story straight
When put on the spot, it’s easy to overthink your answer and stumble on your words. In an interview, this is the last thing you want to do. You should be confident and prepared for any question or request thrown your way, including the common “tell me a little about yourself”…The best way to prepare yourself for this statement is to get your story straight. Consider what’s important to note, what’s okay to skip over, and how long you want to take to answer. Our recommendations include preparing your story based on what you enjoy, what makes you unique, and what skills you have that align with the available position. Spend a few minutes on this answer and connect with the interviewer, because at this point, they’re evaluating whether or not you’d be a good cultural fit. It’s not a time to rush, but also not a time to highlight all of your accomplishments, strengths, and skills, either. In addition to preparing your story, get ready to answer resume questions, including why you left your last job, what happened during your career gap, etc. Ultimately, you’re going to have to talk about yourself quite a bit. You want it to be natural, convincing, and completely confident – and the best way to do that is with preparation.
Prepare for the following 5 interview questions, according to Inc.
- What are your biggest weaknesses?
- What are your biggest strengths?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Out of all the candidates, why should we hire you?
- How did you learn about the opening?
Prepare relevant and meaningful questions
If you don’t prepare questions for your interviewer, it’s easy for your conversation to become more like a Q&A – which you want to avoid. As much as an interview is about you selling yourself to the organization, it’s about the organization selling itself to you.Jobs are a two way street, and interviews should be, too. So, in your research, note questions such as what’s important to know about the company, culture, role, and growth opportunities.Hiring managers want to be asked questions. Not only does it give them an opportunity to sell you on the company, but it shows them that you’ve done research, you’re engaged with the conversation, and most importantly, you are interested in the role.Additionally, due to the current state of the economy, you may want to ask questions about working situations, job security, and how they’re handling the Covid-19 pandemic. How they answer will provide you with a lot of insight into how they react amidst unprecedented times.
According to Glassdoor, these are the 8 questions you should absolutely ask your interviewer:
- What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
- What are the company’s values? What characteristics do you look for in employees in order to represent those values?
- What’s your favorite part about working at the company?
- What does success look like in this position, and how do you measure it?
- Are there opportunities for professional development? If so, what do those look like?
- Who will I be working most closely with?
- What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
- Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?
As you can see, interviews have changed as technology has evolved.
There are new questions to prepare for, pieces to consider, and research to explore – but with these tips, you should have the confidence you need to ace your interview, no matter how long it’s been.
- As a quick recap, prior to your first interview with a new organization, make sure you:
- Prepare to impress without the in-person handshake
- Self-evaluate your social media accounts
- Don’t skimp on researching the organization
- Get your story straight
- Prepare relevant and meaningful questions
We promise that technology can provide you with more insight, effective preparation, and overall courage and knowledge prior to your interview than ever before.
You’ve got this!