Most people have no idea what it is employers are looking for in a prospective hire. Don’t be fooled: there is a lot more to going on an interview than just showing up, shaking hands and walking away with a new job. Unemployment remains high, so odds are that there have been hundreds of other applicants vying for the same position as you. You need a way to stand out if you are going to rock your job interview.
1. Be Likeable
Likeability is a big part of why you’ll be chosen for a job, especially in a discipline that is not going to rely heavily on any specialized skills. Employers are looking for people who can work with their existing staff structures, they want to know before they add you to their team that you won’t cause workflow problems because you can’t get along with your co-workers.
Listen to what is being said to you, offer opinions warmly and don’t be confrontational. Make sure to treat the interviewer as a human being and not as a robot with a list of questions for you: smile when they smile, make eye contact, and try to express yourself in a way that they will relate to.
2. Invest Yourself
Employers aren’t interested in hiring people who don’t care about their companies. The best way for you to make an impression is to show a familiarity with the work that the company does, and why that matters to you.
If there is anything that you don’t understand in an interview, ask the interviewer to clarify it. If you miss something, letting it go in the hopes of catching on later is one of the worst things you can do in an interview. Most likely the interviewer can already tell if you are not following what is being said–doubling down on miscommunication is going to make you come off as if you are not invested in getting the job. Asking for clear explanations will give your potential employer a better sense of how well you problem solve and communicate, and show that you really care about what the job is about.
3. Peak Performance
Walking away from an interview with a job is really a matter of how well you can connect with the person conducting the interview. Basically, you are taking part in a conversation that is not only about you, but one where you need to perform as yourself. In many ways your interview is like an actor going on an audition, except the role you are up for is to play yourself.
Even the best actors hone their craft: the same should be true for you. It may sound silly, but it never hurts to do a few rehearsals going into an interview. Practice answering a few theoretical questions while you stand in front of a mirror. You can even record yourself to hear how your voice sounds to other people. Make little adjustments if you think there is anything wrong with these rehearsals so that your real performance comes off better.