Knowing what you want to do with your life is one thing, but knowing how to clearly and effectively articulate that to a potential employer is a whole other ball game. If you’re looking for some quick and dirty tips on how to knock it out of the park the next time someone asks you what you want to be “when you grow up,” then hang tight, because this checklist will help you go from a dime a dozen to one in a million just in the nick of time.
(Photo Credit: Steven Doplo/Flickr)
First things first, let’s all agree that there is a right way and a wrong way to interview for a job. You’ll probably be scouring the internet and social media for any all information you can dig up about the company, the interviewers, and whether you have any 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree connections with anyone on the inside. However, don’t make the very common mistake of wasting all of your time and energy on researching the company before the interview, because what good is knowing every little detail about your potential employer if you can’t articulate why you’re the best fit for the job?
It’s wise to go into the interview assuming that 99 percent of the candidates are just as qualified, if not more, than you are for the job. Therefore, you’re going to want to position yourself in a way that shows the interviewer(s) that, not only are you qualified and competent, but you are also able to clearly communicate exactly what you can and will do for the company and how, should you be selected. If you can do this successfully, you’ll be one of the top considerations for the job position. So, without further ado, let’s go over some ways to help you get on your way to landing your dream opportunity.
1. Do Your Homework
It’s always a good idea to research the company and the people who will be interviewing you, however invest your time wisely. As mentioned earlier, don’t spend all of your time trying to figure out every possible detail about the potential employer. Instead, split your time between researching enough about the company so you’re comfortable going into the interview, but also focus on defining what makes you the ideal candidate and how you’re going to sell yourself. Without the latter, your overzealous investigations into the company will be futile, at best, and you will lose out on being awarded the position.
2. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
Get to know the company, but also get to know yourself. In order to successfully “sell yourself” in the interview, you’ll need to identify what makes you a stand-out candidate for the job and be able to effectively communicate that to the interviewers. A great place to start is by compiling an “elevator pitch,” a short speech that sums up your capabilities and interests in roughly two sentences.
Bloomberg suggests that a great elevator pitch has two key elements: 1) A clear idea of your interests, and 2) how you take action towards a goal. The intent of an elevator pitch isn’t to land you the job, but rather “to make a connection and give the person you’re speaking with the opportunity to help you.”
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
As with many things in life, practice makes perfect. Ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you so that you can test out your elevator pitch and see if there is room for improvement. The benefit of having someone hear you do a practice interview is that she can provide valuable feedback that can enhance your candidacy. For example, she might point out attributes that you were too modest to say at first. There’s a correct way to communicate your accomplishments without sounding presumptuous or conceited.
Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to prepare a few questions for the interviewer(s). In fact, asking meaningful questions show your potential employer that you have done your due diligence and want to know more about certain aspects of the company/job opening. It’s not a bad thing to want to know more – it’s quite the opposite, actually.
Tell Us What You Think
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