Talencio’s Complete Guide to the Job Search: Part 7 – How to Interview Like a Pro
You are looking for a new job or you are in job transition. You’ve spent hours refining your resume and LinkedIn profile. You’ve had more cups of coffee networking than you ever thought possible. LinkedIn is now your best friend. You have scoured the internet in the late night and early morning for the right job. Weeks and perhaps months have gone by and you have secured an interview. So much pressure rests on the impression you make in the first few minutes of the interview, let alone the rest of the hour. Now is not the time to mess up, so how do you ensure you succeed?
This is the seventh in our series “Talencio’s Complete Guide to the Job Search”. The following 12 points will help to ensure you interview like a pro.
Well before your interview, research the company. Review their website, Glassdoor, LinkedIn page, press releases and if publicly traded, review their annual report. Understand the business model and unique needs the company may have. Draft some relevant questions based on your findings.
Learn everything you can about the interviewer. Go to LinkedIn and Facebook. Do a general Google search. See if you can determine where they land on the DISC profile. Are they dominant, inspiring, supportive or cautious. Then craft your responses and questions to align with their unique personality.
Before you interview, complete a T-chart. We discussed this tool in “Applying For Jobs: How to Avoid Dead Ends” and have also summarized it below.
The T-chart includes the position requirements, from the job description, in the left column. In the right column, articulate specific examples that highlight your alignment with the company’s need. The T-chart bridges the gap between the company’s needs and your resume. It is also an excellent tool in preparing for you to interview like a pro. When asked about specific experience that aligns with the company’s need, you will have already thought about it and put it in writing.
Research typical interview questions and prepare and practice your responses. Ask a friend or family member to help you with practice interviewing and solicit their feedback.
During the interview, thoughtfully consider each question before blurting out an answer.
The STAR method is a structure for responding to behavioral-based questions. STAR represents:
- Specific situation
When responding, describe a specific situation and the task or goal you were asked to accomplish. Then describe the actions you implemented to address the problem. Finally, articulate the result or outcome and if you have measurable data, share that too.
You may have a portfolio of your work product. Organize it and bring it to the interview. If relevant, share a specific example from your portfolio, during the interview.
Respond to questions with confidence. Being prepared will elevate your confidence and help you to interview like a pro. Complete the T-chart, do your research and practice. All will lead to more confidence.
Be ready to discuss the reasons for your work transitions. Keep your responses as positive and succinct as possible. If you are able, show progression to higher levels of responsibility. If you lost your job due to a layoff, restructuring or management change, provide some details and then move on.
If you were terminated, it will be uncomfortable to talk about losing your job, and it’s even harder when you’re trying to explain it to someone you are hoping will hire you. The interviewer wants to know that you were not fired for some grievous misbehavior. They will want to know that the issue is no longer a problem and that you can take responsibility for your actions and demonstrate growth.
In your response, be truthful and succinct. It’s better to state the reason, then try to move the conversation forward to another topic. If you are dishonest and your deception is discovered, you may lose the job offer or be fired if it is discovered at a later time.
Leverage the research you have completed to ask insightful and relevant questions. If you are unsure about a question asked by the interviewer, ask for clarification. Following are some basic questions that could be asked, in addition to more insightful and specific questions:
- How would you describe the characteristics of someone who would succeed in this role?
- If I were in this position, how would my performance be measured?
- What departments does this team partner with regularly?
- How do these departments typically collaborate?
- What are the challenges you’re currently facing in your role?
Stick to the Point
Interviewers are busy people and typically there is an allotted amount of time for each interview. Stick to the point of the question, don’t ramble or dive too deep. Assist the interviewer in covering the ground they intend to cover. When you have responded to a specific question, you may wish to ask if you answered the question or if they would like more information. Of course, you do not want to check for understanding after every question as that would be annoying.
Ask about the dress code ahead of time. If that is not possible, research the company to determine what may be appropriate.
Resume and Other Materials
Bring at least five copies of your resume with you, just in case and interviewer needs a copy. Bring a pen and a notebook and take notes. Do not click your pen during the interview. This is a sign of nervousness.
- Treat everyone you meet with respect.
- Look the other person in the eye.
- Be authentic and positive.
- Smile and sit up straight.
- Avoid going down a path of sharing negative information. Keep the conversation positive.
- Be truthful.
Leverage each one of these 12 to interview like a pro and put yourself in a position to move to the next phase of the interview process.
About the Author
Paula Norbom is the Founder and President of Talencio, a Minneapolis-based executive search and staffing firm serving health technology companies. She has worked in the health technology space for over 20 years, as an accounting executive before launching Talencio. She earned her undergrad degree from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse and a mini MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and is a licensed CPA.
Paula covers leadership topics related to employment and health technology. Contact her at (612) 703-4236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talencio has been the preferred provider of vetted, accomplished professionals to the Health Technology Community for over 12 years. To learn how other companies have partnered with Talencio, tap into our skilled professional talent pool, or learn about career opportunities, contact us at 612.703.4236 or by email.