Anyone else remember the days of printing out directions and two (or 10) copies of your resume the night before an in-person interview?
How about sitting in traffic on the way there and practicing your answers out loud?
Virtual interviews have become the new norm over the past few years, but there are times when you’ll meet with potential employers in person (and will still need to bring those hard copies of your resume and talk to yourself in the car on the way there).
I’ve prepped over 1,000 candidates for both in-person and virtual interviews, and here are my go-to tips for success:
1. Set the “virtual” stage.
- If it’s a video interview, check your tech and test the meeting link. What will be visible in the background of your screen? (Bonus points: Download the company’s logo as your background!)
- Put your accessories away, put your phone in airplane mode and have a pen and paper to take notes.
- Dress up rather than down. It is always better to be overdressed then underdressed—in person or on a screen.
2. Do your homework—on the company and yourself.
- Research the four Ps on their website: Products, Press Releases, Personnel, Position.
- If you’re working with a recruiter, lean on them! Your recruiter knows the hiring team and the company. It’s literally their job to help you to get the job.
- Review your previous positions, responsibilities and accomplishments. What are you most proud of?
3. Know your motivation for change.
- Know your one- to two-minute elevator pitch on yourself. Highlight your educational and career highlights, and throw in a fun fact if it feels right.
- Why are you interested in the company or position? Be specific. Be passionate! This is your opportunity to show off all the research you’ve done.
- Be positive—you never want to speak negatively about current or prior employers.
Know your one- to two-minute elevator pitch on yourself.
4. Have good examples on hand.
- When possible, answer questions in the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result). It’s helpful to write out 3-5 of these examples prior to your interview and practice talking through them—but put your notes away on the day of the interview so you aren’t tempted to read directly from them.
- Remember, verbal communication in interviews should be around 50/50. If you find yourself doing way more or way less than 50% of the talking, try to adjust.
5. End the interview strong.
- Good questions help demonstrate your preparation and your level of interest in the company and the role. Asking 1-2 thoughtful questions really can set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
- A good close and wrap-up is not just for sales jobs.
- Reiterate your interest in the role, how it fits with your career goals and how you meet the needs of the position.
- Don’t forget to follow up! Get your interviewer’s email address and send a concise follow-up (I like bullet points) outlining what you learned in the interview and how you will make an impact in the role and to the organization.
Remember to be yourself. Authenticity is always best.
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