The interview boils down to 3 objectives:
- Get all the information you need to be informed enough to say yes or no if you receive an offer
- Impress upon the interviewer/s that you have the relevant skills, experience and ability/potential to deliver what they are looking for
- Physically and verbally demonstrate your interest in the position and organization
Expanding on Objective #1
The information required to accept an offer is going to be different for everyone as motivations, rationale and “gut instincts” differ from person to person. At a bare minimum it is critically important to know the following:
– What are the skills and experiences required to be successful in this role?
– What does this position need to deliver / what will you be working on in the first 6-12 months?
– How is success measured in this position?
– What are the challenges going to be for someone in this position?
– What are the opportunities for future growth?
By asking these questions you are getting a real sense for what the work is, what the expectations are, how realistic/challenging your success will be and what options exist there for you in the long term.
Expanding on Objective #2
This is the real “art” of interviewing and it’s the most challenging piece for most. The goal is to communicate your relevant set of skills, experiences and desires and do so in a succinct and meaningful way. The best way to achieve this is to have completed objective #1 and use examples of your work that demonstrate your use of the same skills, and your solving of similar problems. It is important to speak to what you have done personally and provide the size, scope and context of your achievements. For most, “tooting your own horn” is not a natural or easy thing to do but it must come out in the interview. The goal is to show you have a consistent track record of success and/or being a top performer amongst your peers.
Expanding on Objective #3
It is shocking how many times an interviewer rejects someone because: “They had all the right skills but they didn’t seem interested or passionate enough about the role and/or what we do… I think we are going to pass on them”. An interview is never the most comfortable situation to be in and everyone exhibits stress differently. It’s important to remember to smile (*this works with a phone interview as well!) bring energy to the conversation and let them know that you are interested in the opportunity. *For a phone interview stand up while you are talking as your body is in better alignment and naturally projects your voice more vs sitting
Closing an interview:
This is an area that typically does not receive enough thought and it really can be a lost opportunity. You will know the interview is coming to an end when you hear something like: “Do you have any further questions for me?”. The worst thing you can say is “No”. It’s still bad to say: “No, you have done a great job explaining the role and giving me all the information I need.”
Use this opportunity to do a quick recap of the interview you just had and be on the same page as the interviewer. You achieve this by summarizing the 3 objectives of the interview described above. Here is an example of how to close the interview:
“Thank you for your time and sharing information on the role and the opportunity with me. It’s my understanding that for this hire you are looking for the following key things: key thing #1, key thing #2, key thing #3 …. is this correct? Great, hopefully I’ve been able to demonstrate my fit for this based on : example #1, example #2, example #3. I’m very excited about this opportunity and believe I can add value to your team/project/organization. What are the next steps?”
Closing an interview is not dissimilar to writing a final paragraph of an essay that ties everything together. This demonstrates your understanding of the role, gets consensus from the interviewer and also allows for any misunderstanding to be corrected. You leave the interviewer with a summary of your fit for the position, interest in moving forward in the process and have clarity on what happens next.
Hope this framework helps you prepare for your next interview!