How to Stand Out in an Interview - Tips from a Harvard Business Review Editor
Katy Anderman, Recruiter
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I help all of my candidates with interview prep and have found that those who truly take time to prepare (researching the firm, practice answering tough questions out loud, etc.) are much more likely to receive an offer.
I recently read this insightful article on interviewing and thought it was important to share. I help all of my candidates with interview prep and have found that those who truly take time to prepare (researching the firm, practice answering tough questions out loud, etc.) are much more likely to receive an offer.
I've included my favorite tips from the article below. You can access all of the tips and interview case studies by clicking here.
Before you enter the room, decide what three or four messages you want to convey to the interviewer. These should "show the connection between what you have achieved and what is really needed to succeed in the specific job and context," says Fern ndez-Ar oz. Lees says the best way to do this is to draft narratives ahead of time. "People buy into stories far more than they do evidence or data," he says. Your stories should be concise and interesting. Make sure they have a good opening line, such as, "I'm going to tell you about a time that I rescued the organization." Then, learn them like the back of your hand. Know how they begin and end so you can relay them without stumbling or sounding like a robot. Whenever possible, use one of your stories to answer an interview question.
Ace the first 30 seconds
First impressions matter. Lees points to psychological research that shows that people form opinions about your personality and intelligence in the first 30 seconds of the interview. "How you speak, how you enter the room, and how comfortable you look are really important," he says. People who perform best in interviews start off by speaking clearly but slowly, walk with confidence, and think through what "props" they will carry so they don't appear over-cluttered. Lees suggests rehearsing your entrance several times. You can even record yourself on video and play it back without the sound so you can see precisely how you are presenting yourself and make adjustments. The same applies to phone interviews. You need to use the first 30 seconds of the conversation to establish yourself as a confident, calm voice on the line.
Be flexible in the room
Even with all of the right preparation, you can never predict exactly how the interview will go. "You need the radar working in the room. A good candidate knows how to tweak the performance to play to different situations," says Lees. Ask yourself: Do I need to supply better answers? Do I need to work on my tone? Do I need to just shut up? "A lot of interviewers like to hear themselves talk and you should be willing to let them," says Lees. Adapt to the circumstances.
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