7 ways to improve your interviewing skills and land a great job
busting myths to help you prepare for your next big interview
Kristen and I sat down to talk all about interviewing this week. We covered how to think about interviewing, tips and tricks help you prepare for interviews, including how to overcome anxiety, and a few things to remember and a few things to try and avoid. To watch the full live stream, view the recorded video below. Keep reading for the highlights including seven ways you can improve your interviewing skills.
1. know what’s important to share about your work experiences
It’s easy in an interview to get caught up in just answering the questions you are asked without thinking enough about what’s important for you to share. If you don’t spend enough time thinking about the work experiences you’ve had that are important to share, you can walk away from an interview without sharing why you’re a good fit for the job. To help make sure you don’t get caught in this trap, take time before each interview to think about at least three relevant job skills you have that are needed in the job you are interviewing for. Then you want to create a story for each job skill that showcases how you put that skill to good use in a relevant work experience.
2. create job stories that show off your skills
There’s a simple framework you can use to create a short story for each job skill you want to highlight. Plan to create three short stories that showcase three different skills. The framework you can use is called SOAR and it stands for situation, objective, action, and results. Long story short, you want to be able to create a story for each job skill you want to showcase. Each story you create will convey something like this:
- I learned this skill…
- While I was in this situation...
- The objective was this…
- I took these specific actions that led to this result.
3. Consider your worst day at work and build a story from there
Think about the days you’ve had when everything seemed to go wrong. Maybe a customer was really upset or a system you were managing broke down. Days and moments like this often make for the best stories because whatever the problems were, you know the show must go on. You have to keep customers going in and out or you have to keep serving food or keep doing whatever your job may be. Usually you do things during a crisis to keep business moving forward. This is where your story gets interesting, learning how you take a difficult situation and turn it around. Also, if you are willing to share a story that shows a little bit of vulnerability, the interviewer will likely feel empathy for you and this makes for a great way to build a relationship.
4. Convert a job strength into a weakness
This is a trick and it works. As an example, maybe your strength is being detail oriented. This same quality can become a weakness if you pay so much attention to detail that you forget to zoom out and consider the bigger picture to make sure you are working on the right things or prioritizing appropriately. The trick here is to share the weakness and then immediately follow that by sharing the system you have created to make sure you keep your weakness in check. This shows that you have self awareness and the ability to course correct.
5. Treat interviews like a first date
On a first date you’re trying to make a great first impression and this is true of an interview. You want to showcase your personality, but not so much that you're overwhelming the person that you're meeting for the first time. You also are mindful on a first date to keep a balance in sharing stories back and forth so that the conversation isn’t one-sided and you are both equally getting to know each other. On a first date, through listening to every story and revealing more about yourself as you share your own stories, get a sense of whether or not you like each other, can create a connection and are a good fit. This is a very good parallel to what you are trying to accomplish in interviews. You are trying to assess on both sides, from your perspective and also the employer is trying to get a sense from their perspective, if you have the potential to be a really great fit.
6. Be complimentary
Compliments work. You don’t want to sound fake, but if you can find an authentic and natural way to complement your interviewers and the company you are interviewing with, the better. This helps tip the conversation a little bit in your favor if the compliment is genuine and is well placed in the conversation. This can be something simple like, “I really enjoyed your latest blog post on why your product is changing the hearts and minds of your customers. I believe in your mission and it would be thrilling to be a part of it.” A little nod like this in the direction of the interviewer goes a long way to create ease in the conversation that follows.
7. Prepare great interview questions
It’s easy as you prepare for an interview to get so wrapped up in what you are planning to say that you forget to prepare a few great questions. Don’t fall into this trap - make sure you take the time to prepare a few great questions about the job you are interviewing for. Interviewers almost always expect you are going to ask a few good questions. If you don’t ask questions, they might think you aren’t very interested in the job. One of the most important questions you can ask is what a day in the life at the job you’re considering is going to be like. Another great question is asking what success in this job looks like. Asking this kind of question portrays you as a person that not only wants to do the job but also wants to excel at the job.