Job interviews. They’re a necessary evil, yes? We need the job; this is part of the process of getting it. It’s crazy scary because everything depends on this conversation with strangers who will decide your life. The stakes are high. You need to nail your job interview.
This is so important that we need to be completely prepared. One of my “jokes” is that we go through many years of schooling, we gain onsite experience, and then we get to a job interview, and we’re nervous as heck and stammering all over the place! Drawing a blank. Losing sleep in advance.
Here are some steps to getting you completely ready to nail your job interview & land your dream job.
Interview tips to land the job.
A little bit of preparation and practicing a few new techniques will have them begging you to take the job.
- Do your due diligence.
- Roleplay the answers to questions.
- Be early.
- Use a confident, authoritative voice.
- Be concise.
- Replace filler words with pauses.
- Use warm & open body language.
Let’s dive in:
Do Your Due Diligence about the Firm
Get all the facts about the firm where you’re interviewing that you can. Know the directors and other key players. Know their clients and the projects on which they’re working.
Get to know their mission statement.
Also, understand the job for which you’re applying. This way you’ll appear to be educated about the firm. They’ll love that. And think about the reaction if they discover you don’t know important information about the firm! That’s not going to help you nail your job interview!
Interview tip: Dress For Success
Wear the clothes that are appropriate for the job itself but step it up a notch. If your job requires that you wear a suit, wear a suit, but add a pocket square and some sharp shoes.
If you want to nail your job interview, your attire will make an impression. People don’t always analyze everything that you’re wearing, but the reaction they get is subconscious. It’ll help you to fit in even before you’ve obtained the job.
If your interview is virtual you only have to focus on the top half. Also, make sure your face is in the middle of the screen and that you’re facing the camera.
Roleplay the Answers to Questions
We know many of the questions that interviewers may ask us. For example, “What are your strengths & what are your weaknesses?” “Why are you leaving your current job?” “Were there
any difficulties you’ve faced & how did you deal with them?” etc. etc. There may be you-specific questions about which you’re concerned. Perhaps you were fired from your last job & you need to explain.
Or maybe you have a few years unaccounted for on your resume. These are stories that you need to prepare.
If you really want to nail your interview, make the recorder your new bestie.
The only way to nail your job interview is to be super-prepared. First, answer these questions into a recorder. Then listen to your answers and revise them in a written format.
You’ll likely be making your answers a bit shorter & more concise. Think of only the essential facts and remove superfluous words & phrases. Next, read the answers aloud into a recorder again. And finally, record the answers to the questions off-the-cuff.
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When you record and make improvements, you’ll be the cool guy who has a strong and aligned verbal brand.
I do a lot of interview practice with my clients. Just yesterday, a client asked if you should just keep talking and leave no pauses. I was appalled! He said he had a professor who told him just to keep talking and to avoid breaks. That’s what inspired me to write this post. Read on & you’ll see what I mean about pauses.
Why should the firm hire you?
The best interview tip is:
Really understand and master why this firm should hire you. Practice saying aloud the answer to that question. Why should this firm hire you?
The more you answer the question the more confident you’ll sound when you present that information.
Record yourself. When you hear something you don’t like, you have a weakness regarding that concept. Think about it and work on it. Even if they don’t ask you this specific question, make a point of letting them know why they should hire you.
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Even if they don’t ask you that question specifically during the interview, make sure you add bits of your answer to each interview question.
You need to get rid of tension in your body & specifically in your vocal mechanism. Do relaxation exercises and make “being relaxed” a habit in your life. Job interviews make people tense. They tighten their vocal instruments, which results in a pitch that’s too high and a voice that’s very thin-essentially lacking executive presence.
Unfortunately, it makes people talk too fast, forget what they wanted to say, and use closed body language. The tension that we feel before & during job interviews can cause our skill level to drop.
What happens as a result of this tension and our skill levels dropping & talking too fast, etc. is that people don’t see how amazing you are. You can’t have your interviewers not seeing how amazing you are. Not if you want to nail your job interview.
Don’t just be on time. Be early. Get to the waiting area & check-in with the receptionist. You can use this time to do your deep breathing exercises. Also, use the time to do your relaxation exercises. Employers want to hire people who are early. If you plan to be on time, anything can happen (traffic, accidents, the subway is slow…) & you may be delayed. No one wants to hire someone late for the job interview.
Your Speech & Voice can Make or Break You
Use lots of air when you speak. Practice with a recorder-you’ll be surprised at how you sound so authoritative yet warm. Speech is acoustically air molecules that vibrate. The more air you use, the more resonance you have, thus, you sound more assertive.
Using a few too many “um”s? Especially during interviews?
Replace Your Filler Words with Pauses.
Job interviews are high-stakes situations, there’s no doubt about it. Our lives depend on getting the jobs we need and know we deserve. And guess what? In high-stakes situations we talk too fast, use filler words, overexplain and aren’t concise.
Use pauses. I can’t emphasize this enough. Breaks give you a chance to take a breath (which provides your brain with oxygen!) And remember this: when you’re speaking too fast & without pauses, the interviewer can’t keep up. You’re in the future; your listeners are in the past. Taking a breath keeps everyone in the present.
Make sure the end of your utterances are short in duration and quiet in volume. This eliminates “upspeak” and drag.” Drag is little known and oft used. It’s when a speaker lengthens their last syllable in a phrase or sentence.
Be concise. When you keep your concepts light & clean, it helps the interviewer to understand your message. You need this to nail your job interview!
Master your small talk
Small talk is anything but small. Most people are afraid of it or despise it. That’s because they’re doing it wrong. You can learn to use small talk to create powerful bonds with others instantly.
There are many times during the interview process where you need to make small talk. When you first meet the person and when you leave. You may be walking to the interview room and need to make chit-chat with the person escorting you.
If you’re in a virtual interview and you need to wait for another participant you’ll need to kill time. Instead of this being a downside, I like to think of it as a networking opportunity.
I arm my clients with an arsenal of anecdotes. But you can do this yourself. You just master some stories that get others thinking and talking. Did you ever hear someone tell a story & you instantly wanted to tell the story that it made you think of? That person is likely a great story-teller.
Use this technique to get others to relate to you. Keep your stories super short, but really engaging.
Use warm & open body language.
Make sure you sit with your back straight, your arms apart & your head held high. Sit at the back of your chair. This will make the interviewers instinctively trust & like you, and it will cause you to feel more confident. It’s science. 🙂
Body Language Fixes You Need Right Now.
When I was in 11th grade, I was so excited to go to the amusement park at the end of the year. I looked forward to it the entire school year. My friends & I were there, having a great time & decided to get our picture taken as we were going down a roller coaster. The photographer said, “Don’t put your head down, keep your head up! People put their head down when they’re afraid, and we won’t be able to see you in the pic.”
Well, wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t keep my head up! I physically had no control over my head! My friends were so mad that I had ruined the picture!
Your body can control you or you can control it.
On that roller coaster, my fear controlled my body. I knew I needed to keep my head up, but I couldn’t do it. Obviously, I needed to do my relaxation exercises. 🙂
I had a talented female c-suite client who was often in a board room with only men. She was aware that she was quite nervous. The first thing we did was train her to relax in that room. That included her body language. She was initially unable to sit at the back of her chair! She sat at the edge of her seat. It took a couple of weeks to get her at the back of the chair. But when she did, she had so much more control over her body, speech & the others in the room. She became a leader.
Here’s an article from Monster with advice on nailing your first C-suite interview.
So remember, don’t cross your legs or your arms. Keep your extremities as far from midline as possible. This results in your being able to keep control of yourself, your speech & other people. That’s leadership.
Here’s your surprising interview tip: Listen
Always be open to hearing what your interviewers are really saying. When you’re not ultra-clear about what they’ve said, do repeat what you think they said—using other words. Using different words. This show’s them that you’re thoughtful & not impulsive.
Take a beat to process their questions before answering. Don’t be afraid of silence. What may seem like an eternity to you is probably just a second. This allows you to design your answer concisely & with persuasion. The sooner you start speaking, the higher the chance that you’ll use fillers, run on sentences, and massive no-content words. The ones I call grammar glue (ands, ifs & buts.)
Here’s how to eliminate filler words forever.
Leave some air space for them to react to what you’ve said. All this is part of the recipe for you to nail your job interview!
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Have Intelligent Questions Prepared
How stupid do you feel when the interviewer says, “Do you have any questions for me?” And you’re all, “No, not right now; I’ll email you if I think of any…” If you want to nail your job interview you should have questions prepared.
Another article from Monster has some questions you can ask during an interview. I think a few of them are a bit obnoxious & could be toned down.
Just use them as examples to help you in your specific job quest. This results in your interviewers realizing that you’re really interested and the right person for the job.
Practice these interview tips!
This is the perfect job for you. You need it! You need to crush this interview.
Yes, a bit of preparation & discipline for something that’s going to change your life is beyond worth it. Not only will it change your life, but it’s going to make your life unforgettable 🙂
6 thoughts on “How to Nail Your Job Interview & Land Your Dream Job”
I definitely have this problem, especially when interviewers ask me to introduce myself, I don’t ever know when to take a pause, and when I do stop talking, it usually takes a few seconds for them to realize I’m done.. Pauses are so important!
Be sure to practice your answers in advance, Shirley!
I found your article very useful and the tools you talked about were unique.
thanks for posting..
I definitely need to be more prepared. Sometimes I draw a blank when someone asks me what I did over the weekend. 🙁 So mastering my small talk is a must for me.
Job interviews can be nerve wrecking. These are awesome tips for new job applicants to handle the interview process
Very helpful article with great tips to help you nail your next job interview. The tip suggesting to roleplay the answers to questions was my favorite. I started practicing this when preparing for my first “adult” job and it made a world of a difference. I was offered a job on the spot.