How to Improve Your Job Interview Performance and Increase Your Chances of Success
Going through a job interview is a nerve-wracking experience for most candidates. It can be even more daunting if you do not have much practice and fail to use a consistent process to prepare yourself. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can improve your job interview performance and increase your chances of getting more job offers! In this article, we will outline some of the most common job interview mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.
1. Failing to do Your Research
One of the biggest job interview mistakes is failing to do your research on the company, department, and the job. Without research and understanding of the company, you are unlikely to impress your interviewer. This is especially true if you are a new college graduate looking to enter a new company. A good research approach is to check with your alumni association to see if any graduates work at the company. You can then meet with those people and get their advice. If you have no prior connections, imagine that you are onboarding yourself as a new hire. In that case, you will have to research the company’s annual report, how it makes money, and other basic facts.
To take your research to the next level, find the names of the people interviewing you and learn about them. Find out how long the manager has been with the company and why the company is hiring (e.g. expansion, replacing a lost individual, or changing strategy). This research will help you prepare more targeted questions for the interviewer and showcase your interest and enthusiasm for the role.
2. Providing One Word Answers to Questions
A job interview is a relatively short meeting designed to assess you as a potential employee. If you are invited to an interview, the company’s managers think you have a reasonably promising fit. In the interview, they are looking to learn your approach to problems, how you communicate, and whether you are a good fit for the company. Providing one word answers to interview questions provides little insight into your thought process. Even worse, such brief answers may be perceived as rude.
To avoid this mistake, use structure when answering interview questions to demonstrate your skills and knowledge. For example, use the problem, approach, and result structure. If you are being asked about your approach to solving IT problems for customers, you could answer with the following structure:
Problem: I faced the problem of an enterprise customer who could not place phone calls because the VOIP technology went offline.
Approach: My approach to solving the problem started with the company’s standard checklist because that solves 80% of problems. Next, I asked to speak with the customer’s IT department. During that step, we identified the problem and had a solution in place in one hour.
Result: My decision to go beyond the standard checklist meant that this problem was solved in less than 24 hours. Implementing a solution in this manner quickly resulted in a thank you email from one of the executives and the customer.
By providing specific examples and using a structured approach, you can demonstrate your problem-solving skills, your ability to communicate effectively, and how you add value to the organization.
3. Failing to Bring Questions for the Interviewer
Showing your interest in the job and the company is essential to receiving a job offer, especially at a small company where you may interview with the CEO or founder. Showing your interest with a few well-crafted questions is an excellent approach. However, it is important to ask the right questions.
Ask how success is measured in the role (e.g. do you have a sales quota? Are there established key performance criteria?), about career progression within the department or company as a whole, and what kinds of results you could deliver in your first week on the job. These questions show that you are not only interested in the job but also have thought about your potential impact on the company.
Avoid asking about benefits during the interview. If needed, you can bring up this topic during salary negotiations. Asking about benefits too soon can make it seem like you are more interested in what the company can do for you than what you can do for the company.
4. Talking About Your Nerves
Talking about how nervous you are sends the wrong signal. At best, such comments distract the interviewer from learning about you as a candidate. At worst, the interviewer may comment or ask about your anxiety and make you feel worse. If facing anxiety is a concern for you in a job interview, look into stress management techniques to calm yourself. You can listen to a song that inspires you before you walk into the building, for example.
In conclusion, job interviews can be stressful, but by avoiding the common mistakes listed above, you can improve your job interview performance and increase your chances of getting more job offers. Remember to do your research on the company, use a structured approach when answering questions, ask thoughtful questions, and avoid talking about your nerves. With these tips, you can make a great impression, showcase your skills, and land that dream job!