I spent two years early in my career as a human resources manager. I left that world behind for an easier career path. Recently, I dusted off my interview tiara and put it back on to help back fill my old position. As then is now, people just don’t understand what it means to interview. I will outline what I feel are the most basic, but often overlooked interview skills. I know the unemployment rate is hoovering around 9%. There is a lot of competition. Remember, you’re resume gets you in the door, but your interview gets you the job.
1. Sell yourself: If there was ever a time to brag it is now. Use strong statements like “I did (fill in blank).” There is nothing worse than sitting in an interview where the person cannot even walk through their resume. You wrote it, now tell me what stands outs. Tell me what you are proud of, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
2. Use Examples: Read the job description, figure out how you have already done this role and then tell me about it. If one of the job requirements is travel arrangement, use a personal example of how you had to figure out your family vacation. It doesn’t always need to be related to what you are doing or have done professionally. It can be personal as long as it is relevant.
3. Watch your language: Remember how annoying it is when you are listening to a speaker who repeatedly uses the word “um” or “ah”, an interviewer doesn’t want to hear that either. If you can’t think of an example immediately, give yourself a few moments to figure out how you want to answer. Trust me, a pause is better than “Um, I, um, well, this one time I uh, um,”
4. Listen for Key Words: If I tell you this job is about team work and you use only examples of how you work alone and prefer that environment. I will not think you are a strong fit. Tell me why: Tell me why this position interests you, tell me why you are the best candidate, tell me why you can do this, tell me why this what you want. Back to point one, you are here to sell me on why you are the best fit. The best way to do that, listen for key words and demonstrate your skills around them.
5. Do your homework: Know what makes the company you are interviewing with stand out. Use Google, use people you know at the company, find out what their mission is and align it to the reason why you like the company. Remember point one, sell yourself, if you can’t tell the interviewer why you want to work at the company, they are not going to give you one.
Also, never bad mouth: Don’t bad mouth a former boss, employer or give a negative reason as to why you left a previous position. Even if you worked for Enron, don’t throw your former employer under the bus. Be positive and be delicate about the situation. Keep gossip out of the interview, it benefits only your 15 year old self.
It really amazes me how many people do not sell their skills in an interview. If I see it on your resume, I want you to talk about it. Remember the points above and remember you are your biggest fan.