Let us start by saying, “We understand.”
Interviewing is an act that naturally gives one anxiety. It’s the fear of not knowing what to expect – what questions will be asked, if you’ll be prepared enough, if the interviewer will be engaging, or what to do if you suddenly forget all your talking points!
One thing that distinguishes the recruitment team at GQR from other agencies, is that we are committed to ensuring the candidates we work with are fully prepared – so the potential for interview anxiety is minimal. Preparation is something we pride ourselves on when it comes to advising our candidates before they commit to interviewing. These prep sessions often provide a platform for fine-tuning one’s interview skills as well as development opportunities for others.
Based on these interview preparation session, we have collated five strategic tips for candidates heading into an interview:
Demonstrate your understanding of the role and responsibilities clearly and concisely. The interviewer should walk away knowing how your experience “makes sense” for the role they are looking to hire for.
Use the STAR Method: Situation, Task , Action & Result
Often, a question starts with “Tell me about a time when…” Or, something along those lines. This signifies a behavioral question. The interviewer wants to get a sense of how you explain the SITUATION and TASK requested but also how you took ACTION and what the end RESULT was. Results being the critical component here – make sure you are able to speak well to this piece.
Know Your Audience
Hiring managers are taking time out of their schedules to get to know who you are. Before an interview, they have often reviewed your resume and perhaps researched your previous company. When they work with a specialized agency recruiter, hiring managers also receive a breakdown of you as a candidate plus rationale as the WHY you are a good fit for the role. It would serve you well to make sure you know as much about the company and hiring manager (and/or interviewer) as they know about you. Our recommendations? Review the interviewer(s)’ LinkedIn profile and website bio if they have it. Also, look at the company’s website and any awards or news articles that exist about the company or department you’re interviewing for. As your career advisor, we give you insight into the interviewer and their background, experience, etc. Take it from us – there is nothing worse than starting an interview and realizing that the candidate knows absolutely nothing about you or your company. Preparation is key!
Practice In The Mirror
Body language is critical – particularly when it comes to in-person and video interviews. From your facial expressions, sitting up straight and not fidgeting, an interviewer can often receive just as much information from your verbal communication as your nonverbal.
I once prepped a candidate over video by asking him a series of questions that an interviewer may ask. As he answered the questions, I noticed he was shaking his head from side to side – as you would do to signal a ‘no’ response. I pointed this out to him and he had no idea he was doing it. I provided the feedback that as an interviewer, if I’m asking a candidate a question and they’re answering but shaking their head ‘no’ at the same time, I’m led to believe that they may not be confident or telling the truth. I suggested that he practice answering a few questions in the mirror to become more aware of his body language. It made a world of difference!
Prepare & Ask Great Questions
An interview goes both ways. As much as you are being interviewed as a candidate for a company, you should interview a company as a potential employee. Asking the right questions can gauge if a company is a right fit for you. Understand the company’s values and culture, as well as their growth goals and trajectory. My favorite question to hear a candidate ask is, “Can you tell me about your culture?” This helps an interviewer understand that culture is important to you. But beware! If they aren’t able to articulate their company culture well, that could be a red flag. Really consider what it is that you’re looking for in your next opportunity and be sure to craft specific questions that help you make a decision on the company.
Bonus Tip: Ask For The Job
Not directly of course. When I interviewed with GQR, and it was my turn to ask questions, I posed this one to the hiring managers, “What reservations do you have about hiring me? I want to make sure I leave this room knowing that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about hiring me.” This was a recommendation I received from a friend based on his own interview experiences and having wished he had more clarity on roles he interviewed for but did not get. Funny thing, when I asked this question there was suddenly a complete shift in the room – I knew this probing question made me stand out from other candidates and solidified me as being serious about the opportunity. It also gave me the clarity I needed and the opportunity to address any hesitations head-on.