Of all the stressful scenarios in life, job interviews are a universal source of pressure. Who hasn’t taken the time to mentally prepare themselves for a meeting, only to have the hiring manager throw you a curve ball, sending you into a tailspin? We’ve all been in the position of thinking we’re confident and comfortable in an interview, only to have it take an unexpected turn. Add in the volatility surrounding today’s job market, and the stakes of performing well in a job interview have perhaps never been higher.
How do prospective job candidates prepare for these crucial meetings in today’s new workplace normal? Have the rules of engagement changed? Are there questions to expect surrounding such pressing concerns as pandemic-related job loss? Remote work expectations? How do you project self-assuredness over Zoom? And, most importantly, how can a professional stand out in today’s crowded competitive landscape?
Don’t Skimp on the Prepwork — or the Soul Searching
Think of a job interview like a final exam: You’ve done the legwork to get to this point and one last step exists between you and ultimate success. It goes without saying that preparation is key to acing any job interview. But that homework looks different than it did five, 10, even 2 years ago.
Where it was once sufficient to enter an interview with a limited knowledge of the employer, today it is expected that a candidate will have thoroughly researched the company as well as its leadership team. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your prospective employer’s website, social media presence, media appearances, and external marketing materials. Do a deep dive on LinkedIn. Talk to professionals in your network who may have insight into the company’s inner workings.
How does the company present itself and its purpose? How do its leaders convey that message to the world? Ask yourself if the company’s values align with your own. After all, most professionals report that their own sense of purpose is defined by their work (as many as 70%, according to this McKinsey report).
After conducting your careful research, ask yourself: “Do I really want to work for this particular company in this specific role?” Answering honestly is the difference between career dissatisfaction (and job jumping) and a mutually rewarding long-term position with an organization you respect.
Your Personal Message Matters
Now you’re ready to prepare for the big day. Think of the job interview as your opportunity to not only showcase your singular expertise and skillset, but also as a chance to get to know the company, its culture, and its people better.
Start by crafting your own message: What do you — and you alone — bring to the table? What professional and personal experiences set you apart? What skills do you possess that are a perfect fit for this specific position? In today’s era of skills-based hiring, you’ll want to demonstrate how the abilities you’ve acquired over your career will directly impact the role you want.
Let this be your guiding light in every interview; you’ll never again be at a loss for words when asked to describe yourself.
Flip the Script
As much as rehearsing your answers to common interview questions, it’s imperative to put together a list of questions you have about the organization, from how your success as an employee will be measured, to company culture and the hiring manager’s timeline for next steps.
Are remote/hybrid work arrangements important to you? Ongoing learning and career development opportunities? A well thought-out plan for advancement? Now is the time to ask, diplomatically and with intention.
Not only will your interviewer be impressed by your thoughtful approach, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to making sure this is the right fit for both parties.
Your Partner in Success
Even the most confident among us need help in presenting themselves in the best light in a high-stakes job interview. That’s where an experienced career consultant makes all the difference.
Partnering with 20/20 Foresight Executive Marketing & Job Finding means you’ll have a dedicated career consulting team in your corner. During a comprehensive one-on-one process, we’ll develop your own personal branding campaign, refine your résumé, define your online presence, and expertly coach your interviewing skills. And, most importantly, we’ll connect you with the top recruiters and hiring managers at the companies where you want to work.