From Entry-Level to Executive: 10 Ways to Make a Good Impression in the Job Interview
How can you stand out from the crowd in an interview? What can you do to make a great impression, convince the hiring manager you have the skills they need and would be a great fit for the company? Regardless of whether you’re entry-level or an executive hire, you can be memorable for all the right reasons.
- Be respectful and kind to everyone you have contact with, from the administrative assistant that’s scheduling your interview to the receptionist who greets you at the office. Word will get back to the interviewer and every impression matters.
- The dreaded “Tell me about yourself” question: This is a fabulous opportunity to raise the bar. Craft an answer that showcases your strengths and interest in the job. Be enthusiastic and share an experience that relates to the job you’re seeking and you’re already ahead of the game.
- Try to find something in common with the interviewer. Check him/her out on LinkedIn, read about their background, where they’re from and what school they attended. See if you know anyone at the company who can give you some inside information. If you can find something to chat casually about in the interview, you’ll be more memorable. Just be mindful of timing; know when it’s time to move on.
- During your research, dig deeper to figure out how to incorporate the company’s values into your answers. For instance, if you know they value giving back to the community, tell them how you’ve volunteered in an annual event and gained new experience or skills while giving back to a cause you believe in.
- Take the time to craft unique questions to ask your interviewer. Go beyond the typical and ask about company culture or a specific project they’ve recently embarked upon, how they approached it and what the goals are. Show your interest in a particular aspect by asking insightful questions that demonstrate your understanding.
- If this is your first job and you’re attending a group interview, you can make a good impression by interacting with the other candidates and treating them as you would any other employee of the company. Speak up when you have something to contribute and build on what others say to show you’re an active listener. Make sure you follow up after the interview so you won’t “fade into the background.” Since it’s a group interview, you need to be sure the company knows that you’re still interested after the first meeting.
- Be prepared to problem-solve. When you’re asked how you would handle a particular challenge, be ready to discuss your solution from start to finish. That will show the interviewer that you’re prepared, how you approach problem-solving and make a lasting impression.
- Prepare your strategy: Before you go into the interview, prepare 3 or 4 stories you want to share that convey a connection between what you’ve already accomplished and how that will make you successful in this job. Instead of just listing your skills, use your story to lead them through what happened and how that will translate into meeting new challenges just as successfully.
- Make sure you have more than one answer to the tough questions. For instance, if you have a gap in your employment, you can start with a simple explanation of the facts. If the interviewer asks for more information, you should have additional answers ready to go that will give more detail. Just be sure you have planned for all you need to say about that issue so you’re not at a loss if pressed for more.
- Be enthusiastic. It’s so important to show that you really want this job, not just “a job.” Show them you’re qualified and excited to have this job. Most everyone they’re interviewing will be qualified; you need to show them more.
- Dig deeper on your research to ensure you’re asking great questions, understand the company’s values and something personal about the interviewer.
- Prepare 3 or 4 stories to demonstrate your skills and experience in an interesting way.
- Practice your answers so you can deliver them comfortably and handle a curve-ball if they throw one.