There are several important interview hacks that I’ve employed throughout the years to insure I get the job offer:
- Study the process
- Study the company
- Study yourself
- Send thank you notes
- Take initiative
Study The Interview Process
I literally studied the interview process because I majored in Human Resources Management in college for my undergraduate degree, but I had studied interviewing techniques as early as high school just because I was interested in learning how to convince people to my way of thinking. I assembled much of what I learned when I wrote The Inner View of Your Interview (which has sold more copies than I ever thought possible!). Some of the testimonials have been very humbling but they all reflect one simple fact:
You have to tailor your interview answers to the needs of the interviewer.
No, don’t lie, … that goes without saying, right? What I am saying is that you have to control the interview with your answers … and the book explains how to do just that. Essentially you must point out how your strengths match the needs of the interviewing company. When you do, you’re well on your way to getting that job offer.
Study The Company
If you don’t know what the interviewing company’s greatest needs are, how can you expect to tailor your answers? Your best sources:
- The job description itself
- Questions you ask before the interview
- Sources you develop through social media such as LinkedIn
- Networking with other professionals
Your resume has to have the right keywords and you have to use those keywords when you’re in the interview.
It isn’t enough to know the company’s greatest needs, you also have to know your own. You have to know what you’re passionate about and what really, truly interests YOU. If you can’t be genuinely excited about the job, don’t waste your time.
Know who you are and what’s important to you. If the position you’re interviewing for matches your values, then don’t hold back. If it doesn’t, don’t move forward.
Send Thank You Notes
Old fashioned? Who cares? A thank you note, whether hand-written or electronic, keeps your name in front of the interviewer. Anything that keeps your name on the interviewer’s mind works to your favor so send those thank you notes! It shows you have manners if nothing else.
Take Initiative and BE PROACTIVE
How proactive and how much initiative is a matter of judgement but I recommend being more proactive than you would otherwise. If you haven’t heard anything after an interview, make the contact yourself. Make things happen.
Once I applied to be a waiter at a thriving restaurant. I put in an application and heard nothing. I don’t know why the manager would’ve called me – I had zero experience being a waiter – so after a few days of no call back, I went to see him and told him again that I wanted to work there. He just said, “Ok, I’ll get in touch if we need you.” A few more days passed with no call so I put on the uniform that his waiters wore to work (khakis, white shirt, and a real bow tie). I don’t know if you’ve tied a bow tie or not but it isn’t easy without a mirror unless you’re experienced. I showed up with it untied, asked him if I could start TODAY, and tied the bow tie in front of him. He just sighed and said, “Let’s go do the paperwork.” Within 6 weeks I was the most senior waiter there and I worked at that job for a year and a half.
Why tell this story? Because you have to make things happen rather than let them happen to you.
If you haven’t heard back, there’s usually no harm with initiating contact yourself and telling the interviewer your high level of interest in the position and flat out asking when you can go to work.
… if I wanted it ?
I did apply for a lateral position within a company I once worked for. It appeared to match my skills, education, experience, and interests and I went through the initial interview. Subsequently I discovered the position was actually a step down both in salary and in the position within the company (it wasn’t presented that way originally). Having studied management and personality profiling for over 20 years, I made sure my new profile was a better match for a different position. It allowed me to bow out gracefully and I continued my job (and my salary!) for over a year after that.
I know I’ve been fortunate and not every person gets the job they want. I also know that sometimes you can seem to do everything right but the cookie doesn’t crumble in your favor. But you can still continually work to tilt the odds in your favor. Make sure you:
- Study the process – consider purchasing and reading The Inner View of Your Interview
- Study the company – know what they’re looking for … know EXACTLY what they’re looking for
- Study yourself – know what motivates you and what you’re truly passionate about
- Send thank you notes – don’t neglect the opportunity to put your name in front of the interview one more time
- Take initiative – MAKE things happen, don’t just let them happen to you … Make. Things. Happen.