To set the right expectations, acing an interview requires preparation in terms of verbal presentation, identifying why you might be the best fit for the position and communicating persuasively on such conviction.
Whatever or wherever you are interviewing for, start with the belief that you can make your mark in the process if you show up as the best and most authentic self. Irrespective of your level of experience compared to other candidates, your skillset, character, values and potential do set you apart.
How to demonstrate that you are the best candidate in an interview process?
- Do due-diligence on your prospective employer prior to going into the interview. Candidates who struggle to come up with a few descriptive items on the prospective organisation and its mission, or fail to be specific in their interest might make it to the top of the list based on experience and skills, but if two candidates score the same in all except of the specific interest shown, the candidate displaying the most specific interest in the organization or industry is more likely to move to the next phase in the interviewing process.
- Find out who you will be interviewing with. In most cases, you will receive ahead of time information on your interviewers – names and job titles. You could think about the type of questions that they would ask based on their roles. If you understand their potential pain points, you will better relate during the interviews. Such connection will also give you a better chance to understand how you will be interacting with those folks, and ultimately, if the team and role are, after all, a good fit for you.
- Increase your level of energy. Interviewing for a position can be draining and emotional especially if the role appears as the ideal next step for you or if you are in desperate need of getting a (new) job. Pressure and anxiety may take a toll on your confidence and presence. Don’t wallow in those negative emotions and show your strength and motivation for getting this role by doing whatever is necessary to get yourself back in the zone. Reach out to your coach, friends or mentors to regain a peak state in terms of energy and self confidence. Or do whatever works for you (e.g. going to the gym, meditating, listening to music) to reach your peak mental performance. Such positive vibe will make you a more memorable candidate, with enough energy and strength to take on the world.
- Be mindful about underselling or overselling your experience and expertise. There is a balance to achieve in terms of communicating on your prior experience and expertise. If your communication is too light or informal, it could falsely signal a low level of experience. The opposite is true as well – complicated and complex terms, used to oversell experience and skillsets could easily be ground for questioning that at the end would only demonstrate a shallow level of experience. Balance your responses with practical examples of your achievements – this will be a better and more honest way to demonstrate your expertise in a professional way.
- Know your learning curve in the role. It can be one of the questions asked. Or you can talk about it, which demonstrates your expectations going into the job are realistic, while knowing what your focus will be on during the first few days, weeks or months on the job. This may also give clues to organizations as to the appropriate support to be put in place for you for a smooth transition and successful integration.
- Prepare your answers to classical questions. They are called classical because they are being asked often in an interview. Those are questions like what your biggest strengths, weaknesses, achievements or failures are, or what are your leadership style, strategy and vision for the new role. Even if these questions are ultimately not being asked, you have rehearsed them enough to be able to more easily and naturally place positives, examples and stories on your strengths into the discussion. Same goes for questions to ask back – for instance on the role, company or its culture. This will spare you some moments of awkwardness if you have no questions for your interviewers.
Preparing for an interview is ultimately digging inside you to find out what makes you, you, then to communicate explicitly, compellingly and enthusiastically on the alignment between your most authentic and best self and the advertised position. It becomes easy when you have done the “digging” work and at times after going through a number of interviews – as Steve Maraboly says “rejection is just redirection to something better”.