Posts Tagged ‘hacks’

Interview Hacks

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Seems like everyone has “hacks” these days… hacks for parenting, hacks for eating, hacks for computing, and even hacks for life. For every standard way to do something, someone out there on the internet has found an innovative way to do it .001% better, guaranteed to transform your life in 10 easy steps.

We’ll pass over the question of whether it’s really efficacious to use string to cut cheese or to microwave your deodorant to get the last little bit out. The idea of hacking itself is sound: re-envisioning everyday activities to perform them more productively, more efficiently, more cost effectively, and more successfully.

Since many of us will interview for jobs many times over the course of our careers and competition for even the most basic positions always seems to be intense, it behooves us to apply as many tricks, tips, and hacks as we can, if for no other reasons than to make the experience easier to endure or to streamline failure.

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So what can you do to improve your interviewing skills? Here are a few quick expert tips:

Bring A Cheat Sheet With You

Everyone knows it’s a good idea to bring extra copies of your resume and business cards with you when you interview, but it’s also a great idea to bring a job history cheat sheet with you.

Prepare a write-up briefly detailing two accomplishments for each of your past few jobs. It’s a great way to overcome brain freeze during an interview or to get things back on track if the conversation has derailed.

Beat the Clock to Beat Your Nerves!

Nothing can make a stressful situation more stressful than anticipation and dread… Having to wait all day for an interview is a quick and easy way to build up a major case of the butterflies.

Rather than spend the whole day worrying and building yourself into a frenzied ball of anxious nerves, try to schedule your interviews for early in the day.

Not only will you have more confidence, but you’ll appear fresher and more alert.

It’s also been proven that interviewers tend to remember the first few people they interview in a day much more clearly than those they subsequently interview later.

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Identify a Problem and Fix It

In many cases, a company will be hiring for a position in order to solve a problem or remedy an issue they have been facing. By studying the job description you can often tell if this is the case for the position you are interviewing for.

If this is the case, take this opportunity to prepare a one-page proposal that outlines how you would solve the problem that the company is facing… and be specific!

Even if they aren’t looking for you to solve the problem in the interview, they will be impressed that you took the initiative and more importantly, that as a hire, you will bring a lot of value to their organization.

Be Nice!

Did you know your interview starts the minute you walk through the front door of the company you are interviewing with? How you treat everyone around you, from potential future co-workers to the receptionist at the front desk, can help determine if you get a job or not.

By being open, friendly and professional with everyone you encounter (not just your hiring manager) you’re helping to pave the way for positive feedback because as everyone knows, people talk… and if they’re going to talk about you, it’s always best to have it be about positive aspects of your visit!

In addition, hiring managers will often use the receptionist/secretary as a “secret screener”. What does this mean? It means that they often give the receptionist a list of questions to ask you and have them take notes on your responses. Then after the interviews are done, they have a quick debrief to discuss what you said. I’ve actually heard of people who had immaculate job interviews that failed to get the job because they showed a different (and not positive) side of their personality during the “secret screener”, so keep this in mind the moment you walk through the door!

Connect Before Diving In

The best way to start an interview is to not start the interview.

When you first meet whoever is interviewing you, get them to talk about anything except the interview. Use those first moments to build a rapport with your interviewer.

Remember, they’re potentially interviewing hundreds of people and the ones they’ll remember are the ones that stand out for the right reasons.

People want to work with people they connect with, and by taking just a moment to talk about something other than your potential job you’re helping show that you’re a nice, friendly and interesting person.

Your ultimate goal with an interview is to have a good conversation with your interviewer and an easy way to kick off that conversation is by starting with an easy small talk opener.

Example topics can include the weather, a recent sporting event, the office, or anything else you can think of that is quick to discuss.

Try to skip controversial topics and make sure that you don’t go overboard or ramble on for too long. It’s still an interview, after all!

Be a Copycat

It’s been psychologically proven time and time again that people respond better to individuals they feel they are in “sync” with and the best way to help drive that home is to subtly mirror your interviewer’s nonverbal gestures and body language.

Don’t go overboard and do everything they do, but if you keep your movements similar to theirs, it’ll build a sense of cohesion and understanding between you two.

Try to mimic their pitch, tone, body language, posture and body orientation.

And while you’re at it, DON’T FIDGET! Fidgeting can undermine your credibility and give an interviewer the impression that you’d rather be anywhere but in that room as well as make it appear you’re anxious or even lying.

Instead, focus your gaze on whoever is interviewing you and show them that you’re fully invested and paying attention to the interview.

Turn the Tables

A good interview is more than just you sitting in a room rattling off prepared answers to questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn about the job, the company and your potential role within that world.

Make sure to have a few questions prepared before you interview and find the time during the interview to ask them. Make sure they are thoughtful questions that help reinforce the idea that you’re the ideal candidate.

When you get the chance to ask your own questions, take the opportunity to “tailor” the questions. You want to show that you have the qualities that the company puts a lot of value in, so utilize this opportunity to do so.

Here’s an example:

If you know the company is big on “collaboration” as a quality, you may want to ask a question like:

“In my previous jobs I’ve really thrived in an environment where I get to work with others and have found that using my abilities in a collaborative setting has really allowed me to add a lot of value to my team. Do you envision this role having a collaborative element and if so, do you think that this ability will help me succeed in this position?”

Just a few easy tips to add to your interview toolbox. Let us know in the comments if you have any other tried and true hacks for interviewing that you’d like to share.

Good luck!

16 Genius Job Interview Tips & Hacks | Jeff Gillis via The Interview Guys