Everyone knows the basic interview strategies for success: eye contact, a firm handshake and speaking clearly. But, if you want to really improve your interviewing skills and stand out from your competitors, keep reading. Here are five tips to help to improve your interviewing skills and seal that offer letter.
Use the BAR method
For behavioral questions that ask for an example situation, utilize the BAR method, which stands for Background, Action and Result. Start each answer off with a brief Background - including your role, the organization and the situation. Next, delve into the Action, or what happened in the situation and what you personally did. Follow up with the Result - why this story mattered or why it relates to the position you are interviewing for. This method allows for succinct but detailed responses to the questions the interviewer is asking.
Make a good first impression
When employers begin the interview asking you to “Tell Me About Yourself” and close the interview asking “Why Should We Hire You?” they are looking to establish their first impression of you. If you excel in these questions, some stumbling in the middle ones won’t matter as much - the interviewer’s opinion will already be formed. Think about your answers beforehand and make sure you are sharing what you want the interviewer to remember about you and use in making their hiring decision.
Positive vs. negative questions
For positively focused questions, keep the examples/topics directly related to the position. For negatively focused questions, try to give examples that aren’t as directly related to the position if possible. This allows the interviewer to directly connect positive attributes to you in the position and gives more of an indirect connection for negative aspects.
For example, when asked about your weakness for the cold calling sales position, don’t say you “take a while to warm up to people.” This tells the interviewer that your weaknesses will negatively affect your performance in that role. Instead, give an example about how you have been working on your procrastination and have noticed that tight deadlines help you excel so you have started creating pseudo-deadlines for yourself at work.
Bring a list of prepared, researched questions. Pulling out a list of questions when you get the opportunity to ask is not a negative sign but more of a signal of your preparation and thoroughness. Prepare a list of questions based on your research and focused on your interviewers. You’d ask your boss, director and colleagues different types of questions, so be prepared with various questions focused on direction, leadership style, culture and recent news for the organization.
Write a thank you email
Make sure to send thank you emails after your interview. Draft the emails or beforehand to make the post-interview sending faster.