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Be an Interview S.T.A.R. – Part 1

Guy_suite_with_starIt’s Go Time! That’s right, after all your time invested in networking, searching for that next career opportunity and submitting applications, you finally get that glorious call – “We’d like to invite you in for an interview!” 

Freshly pressed monkey suit – check! Award winning smile – check! Now what? You’re ready, right?

Wrong! Unless you’re preparing yourself for that impending interview you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Regardless if you feel that you have natural interviewing instincts or tend to be a tad on the nervous side, interview preparation can truly be the key to getting that job offer.

So how does one prepare? Here are four top tips to ensure you are ready to impress on interview day:

  1. Reflect Upon Your Best Professional Successes and Skills: It’s important that all your best examples of professional wins and abilities be at the forefront of your mind for use in both explaining what you have accomplished and for drawing parallels on how you will be able to successfully transition into and handle the job for which you are interviewing. You don’t necessarily have to have completed similar job functions so long as you can successful explain how your current experience and skills can be adapted to the role at hand. Even if you’re a fresh college grad, there are ways to compare class project work, club leadership/membership and/or part time job experience to how you can flourish in a new opportunity.
  1. Be Able to Quantify Your Achievements – Be Specific! Don’t just stop at reviewing your successes, but ensure that you are able to specifically quantify what and how you achieved the results. Far too many interviewees have a difficult time qualifying their wins, this is not the time to be bashful! If you have exceeded your sales goals by 15% let the interviewer know! Did you save your company money? Was it $2 or $2 million – there’s a big difference here. Interviews are not a time for generalities, don’t undersell yourself by not providing the specifics of what you’ve done or do.
  1. What Career Lessons Have You Learned and Grown From? No one is perfect (I mean my husband knows I’m pretty darn close), so what have you learned from the multitude of obstacles, roadblocks and other fun hurdles that you have surmounted to complete projects? If we’re self-reflective enough, the ability to learn from professional obstacles in all of their various forms can make us more strategic and agile in tackling and managing new projects. And talking about lessons learned is a great way to tackle that always fun “what is your weakness” question! “Well Mr. Interviewer, an opportunity for improvement that I have learned via XYZ project is that you need to allot for…and this is how I am trying to implement this practice currently.”
  1. Research The Company and Interviewer(s): You better believe that your LinkedIn profile and other publically available information have already been reviewed, so do your due diligence and learn more about this potential employer. What does their website say about their business, culture, leadership, etc.? Is there any positive or negative press out there on the company – Google them. Check out who works at the company on LinkedIn via their company profile and learn more about your interviewer; it never hurts to mention you went to the same college or you’re interested in the interviewer’s career progression with the company as noted on their LinkedIn profile. Not only does research give you talking points and potential personal connections for the interview, but it may help you to decide if this company is a right fit for you!

Enough tips for today, that’s a lot to chew on! Spending an hour preparing for an interview covering the above items will really boost your confidence and put you in a position to best shine on your big day. Next time we’ll pick up with six final top tips to round out your interview preparation – you’re already half way there to your next job offer!

This blog was written by Cindy Lombardo. With nine years of experience in the staffing industry having worked in the capacities of recruitment, project management, training and marketing, Cindy currently focuses on developing and implementing digital strategies that target and attract talent across all industry sectors for both national and international employment opportunities. She is passionate about following emerging applicant trends as well as educating others about both the growing talent deficit and strategies that can drive better recruitment efficiencies and return on investment. When she’s not working on candidate marketing strategies, Cindy spends her time outside of work running a non-profit opera company, practicing judo and playing with her crazy dog Scruffy.

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