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Effective Interview Strategies

During an interview, the employer’s primary purpose is to collect information on a candidate to help them make the hiring decision. The candidate’s main goal should be to provide information that will make them the best-fit candidate.

Sounds easy enough, right? So, what information are Human Resource professionals and Recruiters looking for during an interview? They are looking for two main items: skills and attitude.

Skills.

Does the candidate have the work experience and education needed to perform the job? This one is straight forward. And if the candidates do not have the required skills, then the Human Resource professional and/or Recruiter will be looking for clues that indicate that the candidate can gain the skills needed.

Attitude.

While answering interview questions, does the candidate possess a positive mindset or a negative attitude? Is he or she looking at the glass half-full or half-empty? Will he or she be able to turn an obstacle into a solution? For example, when candidates are asked, “why did you leave your most recent position?” What HR and Recruiters are doing is analyzing the candidates’ attitude. Human Resource professionals and recruiters try to determine how the candidates would typically react in a difficult situation or a challenging project. Positive thoughts and interactions create an innovative environment. In contrast, negative ones are a cancer to the company. What side will you be on?

Let us dive into how you can ace an interview. There are three steps (preparation, practice, and performance) that you’ll focus on.

Preparation

This is broken down into two parts: general interview preparation and position-specific preparation.

General interview preparation

means reviewing common interview questions and studying how you will answer them. Do your research on the best ways to answer interview questions. Then translate that information to your situation and write down how you would respond. Lastly, put together a list of questions you will ask the interviewer.

Position-specific preparation

means researching the company and industry you are trying to get into. Look at the company website, find a news article on that company, and revisit the job description posted.

Practice

Practice. Practice. Practice.

There are a couple of great ways to do this.

You can practice by yourself. Try practicing your answers in front of a mirror. Or record your answers, relisten to them, and critic yourself.

Participate in mock interviews. Ask a friend or family member to assist you, or hire a career consultant. Both are great options, but of course, if you want the best feedback, you should hire a professional career consultant; after all, this is what they specialize in. This will help you practice your answers to those common and challenging interview questions.

Lastly, use actual interviews as a tool to practice. This will allow you to become more familiar with the process. And if you stumble on a question, that is ok. You can revert to option one (practicing by yourself) or option two (mock interviews).

Practice builds confidence and helps you relax. Do it repeatedly until you feel like you have aced it.

Performance

This is the obvious one—the final product. It would be best if you convinced the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. That you will meet or exceed their expectations. This is what you have been working towards. It is your time to shine.

A couple of critical tips to keep in mind with all interview answers.

Facts are always impressive.

For example, see below.

During my first year of employment with Company X, I was a key-leader in reducing the employee turnover rate from 23% to 11%. I accomplished this by implementing an employee recognition program, facilitated employee focus groups, developing an employee feedback survey, and brought doughnuts weekly.

I opened a 1.6-million-dollar store and achieved profitability within 60 days of business and consistently maintained profitability through my employment at Company X. A key contributor to my success was generating $240,000 in annual savings through strategic negotiations with outside vendors, reduced inventory waste, and increased employee productivity with ongoing training and development.

Tell a story

Paint the picture of yourself that sums up your work experience, education, your character, and personality. You are trying to connect with the interviewer. After all, they are a stranger to you. So, help them understand who you are and what you have done. And there is no better way to do this than telling a story.

Interviewing can be stressful and awkward, and daunting for a lot of people. Just remember to showcase your skills and have a great attitude. Prepare, practice, perform, and you’ll do great!

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