There are many “sorry” emails sent out for every one “congratulations” email after a round of job interviews. If you get one of the “sorry” emails, wouldn’t you want to know why? Perhaps it is poor form to ask why, but the feedback – if you get it – can be priceless. So write a polite reply, thank them for the opportunity to attend an interview and invite their feedback/suggestions for improving your future job applications. You may just get a goldmine of information back.
Here are some basic interview pointers, collected from my notes made during interviews:
1. An experienced interviewer can tell when you are simply giving answers that you think they want to hear. That’s very, very bad as it reflects on your honesty. For example, if I ask you where you see yourself five years from now, “right here” is the wrong answer unless you can convince me.
2. I love asking people what they consider to be their own worst attribute. It’s a trick question that tests honesty. Most candidates fall over this one with an answer like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I am a workaholic”. Wrong answer. Those are positives. That is not what the interviewer wants. Come up with a true negative. Honesty outweighs everything else in an interview.
3. Tell yourself that you will get this job if it’s the right job for you. Then relax. Treat the interview like a friendly discussion. If you are super nervous it is very hard for the interviewer to connect with you and see a potential co-worker behind the wall of nerves. If you appear desperate, that also raises questions.
4. Do not interrupt the interviewer. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? In my experience, about one in four candidates will answer before I finish the question – and sometimes end up answering the wrong question. In the workplace this habit will likely lead to misunderstandings and frustration. No thanks.
5. If you’ve had a bad experience with a previous employer, that is something you want to handle delicately. Every story has two sides. If you tell me that your previous boss was an inflexible and unreasonable troll, I have to wonder what she would say about you. After all, no employer would be mean to their superstar employee. If she was hard on you, I have to assume that you probably deserved some of it.
6. Read up about the company beforehand and prepare a few questions of your own. Trust me, this will lift you head and shoulders above 90% of the other candidates.
You were invited to the interview, so you already have a thumbs-up from the company. Relax and go have an honest and open chat with the interviewer. That’s usually all it takes to land the job.