3 Tips for Nailing Your Next Job Interview

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “What are your three best tips for nailing a job interview?” is written byDan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0, and research director at Future Workplace.

​Despite new recruiting technology and systems, we will always have to interview with at least one person before we secure a job. No resume or robot can replace an in-person conversation between a candidate and a hiring manager.

After the economic recession of 2008, companies have been slower to hire and the interview process has been extended from an average of 13 to 23 days. The good news for job seekers is that the economy has rebounded and they can be more confident when it comes to negotiating their salary and obtaining a job this year. A new study by Career Arc and my company, Future Workplace, found that 63% of employers expect hiring volume to increase in 2017 compared to 2016.

The interview process isn’t just about answering several questions about your qualifications; it’s about seeing if there’s a match between you and the hiring manager. Much like dating, you need to get to know the hiring manager and their team before you commit to a relationship. Remember that you got the interview in the first place because you had the necessary skills and experience on your resume that lined up with the job description. During the interview process, you want to bring your resume to life in a compelling way, and showcase your best personality traits without holding back. Between your resume and interview, the hiring manager should get a sense for who you are, how you collaborate, and if you’re able to start producing immediately if hired.

Here are my top three tips for nailing your next job interview:

Come with specific examples

Before your interview, write down at least two instances when you applied your skills at a previous company. While your resume has a bulleted list of activities and tasks you did at your previous companies, in the interview you need to talk about the results you achieved and what you learned from those experiences. By sharing specific examples, the manager will take you more seriously and start to bridge the connections between what you’ve done and what you can do in the new role.


Tell your story in a compelling way

Your goal during the interview is to make sense of every career move you’ve made and then explain why this company will help you develop further. Before your interview, take a hard look at your resume and write down any connection points between each company you worked for. For instance, if you had a job in email marketing and then one in social media marketing, you can make the case that you shifted jobs because you wanted to expand your marketing knowledge and saw social media as a promising new approach.

Ask the right questions

Aside from answering the manager’s questions about your experience, you want to get to know them, the team dynamic, and the corporate culture. You should ask what led the manager to their job, what they foresee the position entailing on a daily basis, and how they see the role developing in the future. You shouldn’t ask about compensation at first, because it will show that you only want the job to make money. That will often turn off the hiring manager immediately. Instead, probe the manager about what it’s like to work in the corporate environment, what degree of flexibility there is, and the direction of the company. There’ll be time to ask about pay later on in the process.

Since the average American will hold about 12 jobs in multiple fields between the ages of 18 and 48, it’s critical that you become an expert on interviewing now. It’s a crucial skill you will need to advance in your current job or change companies. People who are good at interviewing will make more money and find better opportunities than those who aren’t.

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