Job Interview Survival Guide
You could have all the experience and skills perfect for a position, but if you blow the interview, get ready for an email in your inbox with the subject, “Thank you for your time, but…” If the interview is conducted in person, on Skype, or over the phone, I’m here to help you knock it out the park!
Over the past four years, I have been in more than 50 interviews. Yikes—that is a large number, and that number feels like it’s doubled when you account for so many candidates showing up to an interview unprepared. As the CEO of a digital agency, I interview many candidates from entry level to senior staff and there are always things that can be improved. What I look for in an interview is going to be different than what a member of the team looks for, so each candidate has to be prepared for the interviewer. No longer are the days when an interview is conducted in a dark room and the questions are only about your resume or job experience. Especially when you’re interviewing for a creative position, there are many things you should be prepared for.
When does the interview start?
The interview process begins way sooner than we normally consider. As soon as an email appears in a recruiter’s inbox or managers review your social media presence, you’re being interviewed. Your lifestyle and professionalism need to be projected cohesively any time you’re presenting information about yourself to leaders. As soon as you sit down or pick up the phone, anything you say and all things in between are being assessed to not only assess your experience, but your confidence, personality, presence, and more.
Understand the company culture.
If you are preparing for an upcoming interview, your “game plan” needs to cater to the culture of the company. This is something that should be understood prior to sending your resume! Understanding the company culture will help you predict if you’ll even be comfortable as an employee, but also will help you tremendously during your interview. Do your homework to highlight the company’s values and other important goals relevant to their business objectives.
Practice makes perfect.
Remember when you were younger, or maybe you still do this, and you would have concerts in your bedroom in front of a mirror with a hairbrush microphone? Any of my best interviews took a lot of homework and practice. Find a peer willing to interview you or schedule an appointment with a branding consultant like myself to guide you and dig into the details of what you need to work on and highlight to shine.
As always, be yourself.
Competition is stiff. If you haven’t realized you’re not the only one out there with a bachelor’s degree in finance from your state school, it may be time to reassess what else you can contribute as an employee. Once you get called in for an interview, it’s safe to say that you meet most of the qualifications they’re looking for, so don’t spend an hour reciting your resume by memory. Stand out by showcasing what makes you, you. Give managers something to remember unique to your personality. Tell a story, crack some jokes, tell them about an experience you’ve had with their company, etc.