One of the easiest answers to the “what’s your biggest weakness” question is saying that you’re a perfectionist. It’s a simple way to avoid any pitfalls while highlighting another positive about your personality. The only problem is that this answer has become cliché. Hiring managers report hearing the word perfectionist in far too many interviews…
Take advantage of online tools. Information has never been more readily available than it is today. If you’re going for a position that asks for proficiency in Microsoft Office or other programs, you can usually find free tutorials or even certification classes online. By completing training before your interview, you’ll show that you’re motivated, interested…
Write Down Names If you’re meeting with multiple people during an interview session, make sure to write their names down so you can refer to them properly throughout the meeting. It may seem like an obvious note, but throughout the course of a long day of talking, it’s easy to forget names or confuse two people in the room. If you’re doing a panel session, write their names on the page in a way that corresponds with where they’re sitting. So if a person is to your left, write their name on the left side of the page. Taking note of details will help you stay focused on your accomplishments during your interview instead of trying to avoid calling someone the wrong name.
Know the Conversation If the company where you’re interviewing is consumer facing, look at the comments on their social media accounts to get a feel for the conversation happening around their business. Glassdoor is a site where employees can review their employer, so that is also a good place to see what a company’s culture is like. Keep in mind that people will likely only comment if they’ve had an extremely positive or negative experience, so take the feedback with a grain of salt. However, the comments can help you get a feel for if the company needs to improve in customer service, quality, or culture, and you can bring ideas for progress to your interview.
Bring Results In addition to bringing examples of projects and situations that are relevant to the opening, also bring as many tangible results as you can. It’s easy to say that you turned a difficult situation into a success, but how did that success translate to sales goals, employee satisfaction scores, or increased profits? It’s one thing to say you made a client happy, it’s another to say that your work lead to a 98% retention rate. Showing tangible results backs up your examples and demonstrates that you look to translate your work into bottom line performance for your company.
Take a Card During an interview, make sure you get a business card from the other person. This one little card will have a lot of the information you need to follow up after the meeting is over. You’ll know their first and last name for mailing Thank You notes and also have their title and email address if you want to contact them after the interview with pointed follow-up questions. After they leave, you can also write short notes on the back of the card to help you remember the topics you covered with them for later use.
Roll with Unconventional Questions Companies are increasingly asking strange questions during interviews to try and throw candidates out of their comfort zone and get a real idea of their thinking and personality. So if you’re interviewing for an insurance position and the interviewer asks, “If you could be any animal, what would it be?” they’re likely less concerned with the answer than they are how you react to the question. Don’t get flustered, think of an answer and give your reasoning behind it. Don’t respond by clarifying why they’re asking the question or give a one-word answer. Interviews are as much about how you’ll fit in with a team as they are about your technical skills, so let your personality come through to show you can roll with the punches.
Consider Treats instead of Thank You Cards After a round-table interview or a long day of meeting with multiple members of the team, consider having cookies, donuts or fruit delivered in lieu of mailing several Thank You cards. This will let the entire team see your gratitude and let you avoid trying to figure out whom to mail a card, especially if you didn’t catch everyone’s first and last name during a panel. Always be sure to send a more personalized note of appreciation to the hiring manger and your would-be supervisor, but don’t be afraid to round out the rest of the thanks with an office gift.
Travel with ‘Thank You’ Notes Going out of town for an interview? Whether you’re thinking of relocating or having a face-to-face for a remote opportunity, you should take a pack of Thank You notes with you for any out-of-town meeting. After your interview, sit down at a coffee shop and write your notes. Then, mail them out before you leave town. This will ensure that your follow-up gets to the interviewer much faster than if you waited until you got back home. Not only do you cut out the travel time, but local mail will also arrive much more quickly. Now you won’t have to worry about the company making a decision while your Thank You note is in the mail. Don’t forget the stamps!
Maximize your References If you have a contact at the company, don’t let them go to waste. In addition to asking them to put in a good word for you, ask them about aspects of the job that you can use to your advantage. Find out what the position needs, some critical attributes you should have, and how they think someone could improve the role. Then, during your interview, use that inside knowledge to really position yourself as a perfect fit for the opening. You never know what failed to come across clearly on a job posting, but by leveraging your references, you’ll know exactly what to highlight during the interviews.