Job interviews are nerve-racking, but it’s the only way to get a job. So you don't have a choice about having one! Here are some tips to help you out.
Long-term unemployed jobseekers probably know more about job interviews than anybody else. They have been going in and out of interview rooms for a long time and have learnt all there is to know about recruiters and their peeves – what they expect from them and what they are more likely to ask during an interview. But, this doesn’t explain why they had no luck landing a job. Is there anything they could be missing despite having already gained a lot of interview experience?
If you think this is you, check out these uncommon interview tips that tell you what you need to do before, during and after the interview to increase your chances of getting a job.
Before the Interview
#1 Pick the Right Time/Day for the Interview
According to Glassdoor, there are certain times of day and days of the week that are better than others for interviews. After reviewing Accountemps 2008 survey and Andrew Bradbury’s book, Successful Presentation Skills, freelance writer Kate Parham said that the ideal time to give a presentation is Tuesday morning around 10:30 am. Based on these findings Rusty Rueff writes:
“Considering that the ‘best’ times and interview times are likely similar, then Tuesday morning could be a great time to set up your interview.”
This makes sense. While the interviewer may not be able to make that time/day, you should try to arrange for a meeting not too early or too late in the day. You also want to avoid Mondays and Fridays as people prepare for the week and cool down. Pre-lunch meetings are also off-limits because recruiters and employers might be in a hurry to leave the office or too hungry to concentrate, and not be able to give you their full attention.
#2 Prepare ‘The Speech’
This question is fairly easy because you can direct the conversation wherever you want. So, if you want to talk about your work history, background or education it’s really up to you. Whatever subject you choose, you need to make sure it can be made relevant to the position. You are not there to tell the story of your life, rather the most important parts of it that explain why you are there.
This means that you need to come up with a speech or a statement that can be targeted to the job. Here’s an example to help you out:
‘I have just finished studying at [Name of University] and now I am planning to get into [Field of Interest]. During university, I worked as a [Job Title] to get the necessary work experience that will allow me to become the professional I aspire to be.’
You can then let the interviewers decide what they want to talk about in more detail. The question is intended to work as an icebreaker here, but can also be used to your benefit if you choose to focus on your strengths.
#3 Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles
With 92 percent of recruiters checking out candidates on social media, it’s important that you make the effort to remove any ‘trashy’ information they might find on your online profiles. Jobvite’s 2015 survey said that social media is a gold mine for employers because they present both personal and professional information that helps them make the right decision. Recruiters pay attention to what you share and are looking to find evidence of professional experience and hard skills, industry-related posts, mutual connections, cultural fit and examples of your work. Everything else – including selfies, they don’t really need to see. If you need some help with the clean-up, Social Sweepster is the tool for you.
#4 Wear Something That Stands Out
At a job interview, you would usually wear your best suit, or a black or blue dress so that you look nice, and it’s probably wise to stick to that plan. Obviously you don’t want to go there wearing flip-flops or anything that's too avant-garde. But, a subtle accessory or something that can help you stand out can really help your cause. It can be anything from a pin that represents your culture to a tie with a funky design. This kind of item can help you build a better rapport with the interviewer, bring up a fun topic you are comfortable talking about and be more memorable.
#5 Don’t Give Answers, Tell Stories
Many people have interesting stories but forget them when they are put on the spot. When the interview nerves kick in, it’s like you forget who you are, and that’s why it’s much better to prepare responses in advance. The best way to answer interview questions is by giving real-life examples that back up your skills. But they have to be used in the appropriate context. Story telling is an effective strategy to impress employers because it gives them all of the information they need to understand what you are trying to say.
Effective stories can be used along with the STAR technique to answer questions. This method can help you prepare answers for behavioral questions that allow interviewers to learn how you react in certain situations. That’s because they can describe the situation (S) – what was the problem, task (T) – what did you have to do, action (A) – what you did, and result (R) – what was the result.
The stories you prepare should be able to answer a few basic behavioral questions such as:
- Tell me about at a time you had to solve a problem
- Describe a situation when you overcame a big challenge
- Describe a situation where you made a mistake
- Tell me how you were able to work as a leader
- Describe a time when you had to work as part of a team
Coming up with a story for each question will help you answer just about any question employers fire at you. Since behavioral questions are designed to help employers understand your skills, your stories can be used as examples to present yourself as more competent for the job.
#6 Interview Ex-Employees
You probably haven’t thought of this but you can find a lot of useful information about a company by asking someone who worked there. The best way to approach these people – who you obviously haven’t met before, is through LinkedIn. You simply connect with them and ask them if they would be kind enough to tell you what the interview is like. Alternatively, there is also Glassdoor, which has all of the answers you need. This website's company reviews can tell you about interview processes and what kind of questions a company is likely to ask.
During the Interview
#7 Wear Glasses
Do you want to get the job? Have you considered wearing glasses? A study conducted by the College of Optometrists showed that wearing glasses in an interview is more likely to get you the job. Results revealed that a third of adults wearing glasses thought they looked more professional, and 43 percent thought that they looked more intelligent. What’s even more interesting is that 40 percent of participants with perfect eye vision would consider wearing clear lenses if it would improve their chances.
#8 Make Interviewers Laugh
If you manage to make the interviewers laugh then the job is yours. Using humour is a great way to lighten the mood and break the tension. A good, clean and ‘light’ joke is always welcome during the interview. But, since you don’t know who these people are or what their sensibilities are, this is probably going to be a difficult task. There is a fine line between telling a clever joke and insulting someone. This means that making jokes is a risk you must be willing to take.
#9 Ask This Important Question
At the end of the interview, when it’s your turn to ask questions, ask this question: ‘Have I said anything or given you any reason to doubt the fact that I may be a good fit for this position?’ This will help you find out how you did in the interview as well as what the employer thinks of you. It might be a bold move, but it tells employers that you are confident and aren’t afraid to ask for what you want. If the answer is yes, then it means you will be given a second chance to clarify what employers misunderstood.
After the Interview
#10 Thank Interviewers Using Video
It’s plain courtesy to thank employers at the end of the interview. That’s when you give them a second handshake and tell interviewers that you appreciate the time they have taken to see you. If you are willing to go the extra mile, you can send employers a special thank you note in video format. YouTube is an easy tool to use and can help you create amazing videos to send to employees, even if you don’t consider yourself computer savvy.
There is no point wasting your energy ‘working hard’ when you can ‘work smart'. Job interviews require creativity and exploring new ways to impress employers is the only way to get a job. How are you planning to do it? Let me know in the comments section below!