Let’s get past all the clichés.
You already know that you’re supposed to show up on time (but not too early), dress to impress, and be friendly to the receptionist and every person you encounter from the parking lot to the room where your interview takes place. You’ve been told a million times to make eye contact, smile, and have a handshake that’s firm, but not aggressive.
This isn’t your first rodeo.
If you’ve got an in-person interview, you’re qualified for the job. There are probably only a couple of other people in the running, and you’ve all got the skills and smarts it takes to excel in the role.
At this point, it comes down to who the person you’ll be reporting to likes more, and how well you fit with the culture of the company and the rest of your team.
In this article, I’ll share with you the top 5 tips I’ve used in my interviews to get an offer more than 90% of the time.
1. Remember It’s Not All About You
Too often, interviewees focus on what their potential employer can offer them. Instead, you need to provide a clear value proposition on what you bring to the employer.
It’s kind of like that famous JFK quote, “…Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
To be blunt, the person interviewing you doesn’t care all that much about your personal growth mission. Yes, they want whoever they ultimately hire to feel fulfilled, valued and motivated, but leading off with what that means to you is premature and a huge turnoff.
Instead, make it a point to show early in the interview what makes you a valuable asset to the team. Highlight your unique experience and how it will contribute to the organization’s goals.
2. Solve a Problem
At a bare minimum, take a look at the company’s website before you show up for the interview. You should look at the history of the company, learn about the backgrounds of the executive team, evaluate the company’s product or service, read a handful of press releases, and do some competitive research.
Just being able to spout off that the company was founded in 1985 won’t get you very far. You need to show that you’ve done your homework.
Dig deep and find something unique and newsworthy.
Did the company just get awarded a new patent? Ask questions about how that will impact the future of the organization. Did they recently get a new ERP system? Find out how smoothly the implementation is going and see if there’s any advice you can give to make it go even better.
3. Do Your Research, but Don’t Be Creepy
Almost everyone is on either Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, so you can find out a lot about the person interviewing you. Use this information artfully and with discretion; don’t be a weirdo.
For example, don’t say, “I was looking at your Instagram profile and noticed that you made paleo risotto last night. How was it?”
Instead, say something like, “I’ve always wanted to volunteer for a local organization. I saw that you participated in your company’s last Habitat for Humanity outing. Can you tell more about that?”
The goal of this type of research isn’t just to show that you know how to use the Googles. That’s a given, right? Instead, this tactic serves to show your future employer that you care enough about them to take the time to do your due diligence. Plus, they most likely went to all of your social media profiles, too, so it’s logical and expected that you would do the same.
4. Playing it Cool Isn’t Cool
Interviewing for a job is kind of like dating. Your resume might embellish one or two of your accomplishments, and the company’s website might exaggerate how cool the breakroom is.
As you and your potential employer get to know each other to see if it’s a good “fit,” you might be tempted to play it cool and make it seem like you’re not all that interested in the position. This principle is often used in dating – if you’re overly eager, then your prospect might think you’re desperate.
I’m not saying to gush about how much you love the company and that you’re dying to work there. You probably don’t even know that for certain yet, and yes, if you gush too enthusiastically, you look like a Stage 5 Clinger.
Instead, you should communicate how passionate you are about the role and the job description. You love what you do, right? Talk about it. Show your interviewer that you bring energy, drive and enthusiasm to your job, and they’ll be more likely to see you as a good fit and a team player they can trust to stay excited and perform well.
5. Ask Questions
At the end of the interview, you’ll be asked something along the lines of, “Before we wrap up, do you have any questions for me?”
The worst possible answer to this is “No.” In any two-way conversation, there will be topics that come up that you’d like more clarification on. And at the very least, something your interviewer said should have piqued your curiosity.
Ask something along the lines of, “What do you like most about working here?”
This question gets the interviewer talking about themselves, which is most people’s favorite topic. It’s my go-to question to ask because it shows the person that I care about them, and I’m curious to know their story.
Remember, the hardest part is over. You’ve aced the phone screening, and you’re one of the few remaining candidates. Handle your in-person interviews well, and expect your offer ratio to skyrocket.