By Amy Campbell
A while back I blogged about ways self-storage owners can reinvent their interview process and offered innovative questions that will help them ascertain if a candidate is truly right for the position. Now, I’d like to visit the other side of the coin—that of the person being interviewed.
Let’s face it, for most of us, job interviews are terrifying! There’s the anxiety and preparation before the interview, followed by the anxiety and doubts during the interview, and the anxiety and post-interview analysis. All the while you may be wondering, what should I say, how should I act, what should I share/not share?
With so much riding on a conversation that’s typically fairly short, it can be difficult to show the interviewer why you’re his future employee of the month. In general, it really comes down to two things: preparation and confidence.
Before interview day, you need to prepare. This includes researching your potential future employer. Read the company’s website and other published material via an online search. You should also understand the requirements of the job so you’re prepared to talk about how your skills fit the position.
The next part of prepping is to prepare responses for often-asked interview questions. You don’t want canned responses. Rather, think about your talking points. Here are a few common interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why should we hire you?
- What skills would you bring to the position?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why did you/are you leaving your current job?
- What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
All of these can be tricky to answer. The key here is to focus on the company and how you fit with their mission and goals. For example, a great answer to the “Why should we hire you” question would include how your skillset meets their job requirements (This is where the prep comes in handy!) Plus, it’s an opportunity to toot your own horn by adding in a few things you can do that were not on their list. Your goal here is to show that you’re not just capable of doing the job today, but you’ll be an asset for future company growth.
If you’ve properly prepped for your interview, you’ll also feel more confident about the process. Some other critical keys to being confident in these situations is to “dress for success.” It may sound corny, but dressing for the part will put you in the mindset. You should also be positive and focused. Don’t let those, “I’m never going to get this job” thoughts creep in. Your mantra here is, “I got this!”
It goes without saying that you should never be late to an interview, so give yourself plenty of time to arrive, plus a few minutes to relax and refocus your body and brain. When you meet the interviewer, look him in the eye and offer a solid handshake. During your conversation, respond to the questions truthfully and authentically, keeping your talking points in mind. Show your confidence by keeping eye contact, staying focused and offering concise responses. Be sure to provide good examples of your accomplishments, but don’t brag. Keep your answers short and on point. You never want to ramble and bore your interviewer. Also, never badmouth anyone during an interview. This includes your current and former employers, bosses and co-workers. Interviewers will often throw out a “bating” question to get you do this. Watch for wording such as, “If you could change something about your current company or boss, what would it be?” or “If a co-worker did X, what would you do?” While it’d be easy to go negative here, don’t. Instead find something positive to say.
How else can you make a lasting impression and stand out from the other candidates? By being more than just the interviewee. You know that part at the end of the interview when the person across the desk says, “Do you have any questions for me?” That’s your cue. A blog on Hubspot offers some compelling responses that go beyond the typical fillers you might offer to show you’re interested. The questions are detailed, which will impress the interviewer, but will also shed more light on the job and its responsibilities.
Before dancing your way out of the room while pumping your fist for nailing a tough interview, remember to offer a “thank you for seeing me today,” a smile and a firm handshake. It’s also perfectly acceptable to ask the interviewer about the next step in the hiring process. This might include a background check or second round of interviews. The question also restates your interest in the job.
Finally, it’s a good idea to send a short thank-you e-mail (if this has been the method of communication) or card to the interviewer. Be sure to send it in a timely manner. While it likely won’t tip the odds in your favor, it will show you’re courteous and sincere. Plus, it will bring your name to the forefront as the company makes it choice.
It’s highly unlikely job interviews will ever be easy for most of us. However, with some preparation and a dose of confidence, we’ll do well and land the job of our dreams. Good luck!
Do you have any interview or job-seeking advice? Post a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community.