Top Tips for a Successful Interview

  • Reread your resume as if you were looking at it for the first time. Remind yourself of names of people, dates, timelines, whatever might come up in THE interview so you have the details top of mind.
  • Read over the job description carefully and pull examples from your past experience to support the skills and responsibilities important to the role. If the initial interview is with an HR person, rather than the hiring manager, they will want to be able to “check the boxes” on the job profile to be sure you meet the criteria before setting up an interview for you with the hiring manager.
  • If you are doing a phone interview, make a “cheat sheet” of four or five bullet points that highlight why you are a fit for the position. These are things you want to be sure to bring up in the interview, even if you are not asked directly. Make sure you work these points into the conversation.
  • Be very respectful to the HR person. They are the gatekeeper to the hiring manager. They may not know all the details or be able to answer all your questions, but they are very important to the process.
  • Ask early in the conversation what the person interviewing you thinks are the most important attributes to be successful in the position. Then you can spend the rest of the interview talking with these points in mind, and your examples or references will be on target.  This is KEY to a successful interview!
  • Be prepared to talk about the transitions on your resume – WHY did you leave your last position, for example.  Find a way to explain that does not paint a negative picture of your past employer or your skills.
  • Be careful to not swear in an interview. It has become quite common in daily language, but will reflect poorly on your in an interview.
  • Avoid a discussion about salary early on in the interview process.  If it comes up, it is best to say something like” The recruiter has told me I am in the salary range, so if this conversation proceeds I am sure we can agree upon a mutually beneficial number.”  You want to create the value in your skill set before you put a price on yourself.
  • In an in-person interview, be sure to always  have a pen and a pad of paper to take notes.
  • The details in your wardrobe are important for an interview. Make sure your shoes are clean, your shirt is ironed.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: As the interview is coming to an end, ask the interviewer:  Now that we have had a chance to talk, what are your thoughts about how I would perform in this role?  This is an open-ended question – not a yes or no question – and will maybe offer the only opportunity for you to uncover any hidden objections the interviewer may be thinking.  If you ask, they will usually give you some constructive feedback. This will be the chance for you to correct their thinking about your background or for you to offer other examples which will make them more comfortable with your experience.
    • For example, they may say “I am not sure you have had enough experience managing other people”. This will give you a chance to then talk about a job you had further back in your career which gave you this leadership experience, or a volunteer situation you did not think to mention.  Sometimes this last question can keep you in the running for Round 2 in the interview process, where the interviewer might have otherwise dismissed you as a candidate.
  • Be sure to thank them for their time and send a prompt thank you note. Be sure to check it carefully for typos, which we all make in day to day correspondence but will reflect poorly on you as a job candidate.
  • Have fun!