Countless times I’ve come across people with superb and professional resumes, well put together. But in the long run; I start to discover that some of these people with killer resumes end up never getting a job, some had to settle for jobs that are less than they originally aimed for.
What could have been so wrong with their resume? This question left me hanging for days in the course of trying to find the missing link of this puzzle. And guess what?
After much analysis and research, I finally experienced a paradigm shift, more like a shift in perception; the resume was never the problem after all, but lack of effective job interview tips.
There are tons of job interview tips out there you could have possibly come across but here is the thing: more often than not, I see job interview tips that are way outdated or even infected with flaws especially as a result of the collapse of past generational ideas. And to that effect, bringing about the evolvement of newer realities, ideas, and principles.
Time has changed and it’s still changing drastically. You have to swim with the tide by welcome this peaceful revolution else you’ll be left behind in a world of intellectual stagnancy, keeping mental development at bay.
Most job seekers are yet to come to terms with this new reality and they are already paying for it with their joblessness. Trust me, you don’t want to be a candidate of that forgone reality.
Coming here to this article will serve as a reality check to you. And with respect to that, why don’t you join me on this pathway to the exposure of current realities and ideas. Ideas that in the long run, will prove highly effective and positively transitional.
So on this one, I’ll be walking you precisely, through a step by step process on how to secure that dream job of yours in the next interview. That said, I want it to be within your attention that the tips you’re about to come across are all you need to get ahead of your competitors and finally land on that seat which you deserve.
If you’re still reading this at this point, then it means you’re up for this deal. Moreover, it also implies that your resume is all set and you’ve probably gotten a call from your interviewer.
Now with the big day fast approaching from the distance of time, all you need now is to arm yourself with the necessary strategies and effective tips for the interview, which I’ll be unveiling in no time.
I took it upon myself to look way back on interviews, carefully sifting through research and analyzing results, even went further to ask employees and employers from today’s most successful companies. I did a great job trying to catch profound and unconventional ideas beyond the normal “sit up straight” tips you probably would have seen a million times.
However, I would like to jerk your memory a little. An interview is based on three phases: before the interview, during the interview, and after the interview. In this article, I will expend much energy and time in bringing all these phases to your complete understanding. Below you will find the best unconventional tips that will serve you before, during, and after the interview. Stay put.
Before The Interview
1. Make Research on Earning Conference Calls, Quarterly Review, and Blog Articles
If you’ve been keeping up with the recent happenings, you would and should’ve understood that content is all that matters in our world today. Entities like Goldman Sachs, an American multinational bank of investment and financial services.
They also offer services like management of investment, management of assets and lots more.
Such an entity as Goldman Sachs usually publicizes their quarterly review, award-winning company, Microsoft records their earning conference calls and 99.9% of startups owns a blog.
All these are information freely disposed to us. And so, with all these tons of information at our disposal, I’m still transfixed by how most of us fail to go past the homepage of the company’s blogs and websites.
Imagine you’re interviewing with a company like Google, and you are being asked: “what’s the biggest opportunity for Google in the next 6 years?”
- Poor Answer: “From analysis, wearable technology is the next big thing; a revolutionary trend, I mean considering the fact that Google’s Glass and Apple Watch represents a new tide swooping through time and blah blah blah……”
- Fair Answer: “I once had the opportunity to listen to Google’s quarterly review and earning calls, guess what? I was in fact deeply impressed by the fact that over the past few years, display adverts have risen up to $8 billion. So in my opinion, I think………”
One thing to understand here is neither of the answers is wrong. But of course, the latter says much more at least by quoting specific figures and sources of information. This goes further to prove that you’ve done your homework which of course is an added advantage for you.
2. Make Use Of Google Alerts
Keeping up with specific company news and updates has been incredibly difficult particularly for people who are interviewing with multiple places. All thanks to Google for making it a one-time problem as they created the popular Google Alerts.
The Google Alert is a tool that sends you mails anytime a current update shows up for a specific term that you’ve chosen. With this development, you get quick and firsthand updates even without going through the stress of searching for them. Google Alerts is indeed a savior.
For Instance: If you want to apply to Catalyst Digital Agency, follow these process:
- Visit http://www.google.com/alerts
- Type in “Catalyst Digital Agency”
- If you’re not already logged in to Gmail, input your email address.
And soon enough, you’ll start getting updates on CDA. With that advantage on your side, you stand a better chance with respect to that interview.
3. Make Use Of Social Sweepster:
Recently, it’s been uncovered that over 90% of today’s employers search your social media for any form of red flags.
I know most people will always tell you to watch what you post but what if you’ve posted some wrong stuff in the past and you can’t track it easily? Well, that’s where the Social Sweepster comes into the picture.
This is how it works: the Social Sweepster is an app that detects pictures of beer bottles and some related suspicious items. It also detects offensive words from your past posts. If there is anything I could say about this app, then it’s definitely a badass app!
Just for the records, too many hiring personnel have rejected candidates and some have fired their employees all for the reason of some spotted red flags from their social platform. Take that hint!
The CEO of this creative app, Tom McGrath once said “We help you create the first impression on your own terms.” Now that’s an assurance you’d definitely want to reckon with.
4. Craft Your “Story Statement”
Nine times out of ten, most interviews usually kick off with a similar phrase: “tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume”. Often times we blow it all up with answers that are totally uncalled-for. Answers like:
“Well, I studied (your major) considering the care I have about making an impact and difference in this (the industry). Just as you can clearly see through my last job at (the company), I did lots of……. ”
Now, answers like this are way out of track. They are more of skipping the first 150 pages of your autobiography, leaving out the best parts; everything that actually gives true meaning to why you need that job.
There are tons of questions people don’t answer in this phase of great opportunity to score massively high, questions like: “when and how did you experience your turning point?” “Why are you so moved by this job?” “How did your childhood influence you?” These are questions most applicants neglect.
They’d rather talk more of their professional experience, and in most cases, telling the interviewer what he/she must have heard a dozen times from other applicants, thus leaving him with little or nothing to be inspired. I tell you now, that’s a wrong move! The goal here is to be unique and unconventional, and only your answers can serve as a reflection of that uniqueness.
That said, I’ll be giving you a well-crafted story statement that has proven successful over the years to serve as an insight for you. When next you’re being faced with such question like the “tell me about yourself” kind, here is a format and sneak preview of how to answer them.
“I grew up in Los Angeles here in the U.S after having an initial life of 7 years in Toronto, Canada. Unfortunately, my parents were not financially buoyant enough to send me to college.
So I relied on high school and free online courses to learn computer programming, a skill I’ve been craving and dreaming of all my life. Few years after high school and with the help of a friend, I was granted the opportunity to work with a tech company in Washington DC.
There, I anchored the position of a software developer. It was in the course of working with this firm that I discovered my true passion and calling; not just to write codes and earn a 6-figure salary rather, to improve lives, add values to people’s businesses and also share my knowledge with other people.
Throughout my years of learning how to code, it has always been me against the world, my friends from way back were never the computer-inclined types; they were mostly focused on entertainment (singers, rappers, and dancers) and sports.
I got nobody’s support, no one to turn to, other than the online courses of which I don’t always grab all they taught. Looking back on those challenging days, impels me to help the next generation of code learners, to make their journey to perfection simpler and enjoyable.
And to the tech companies, I’ll find myself, I will stop at nothing but to improve, not just their income, but their creativity and dominating-force in the tech industry.”
Story statement like this proves beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are not just a professional but something beyond that; a real person.
Now if you’re applying for a teaching job, you can talk about your early experience on how you were given the privilege to teach a particular subject to your classmates for a brief moment of time. If it’s a managerial position, you can possibly talk about when you led a group of people and spearheaded a project to completion.
The chances are, we have all had experiences through which we can channel and connect to where you are actually trying to go. All there is to be done is selecting and crafting the right stories to tell.
Just an extra tip and also a piece of advice, if you find it very difficult to craft a story statement, especially with respect to a particular interview, chances are, you might be applying for the wrong job. Take a step back and analyze the job with respect to your natural inclinations.
5. Put On A Subtle Fashion Spice
A good dress code makes a huge impact quite alright. But have you ever thought of taking your attention to detail a step further? According to Morgan Stanley, he once advised wearing something that portrays your culture or background.
He further went on to say that in his case, he usually wears a pin of the Panamanian flag on his suit lapel. If his interviewers eventually ask about it, he uses it as an avenue to discuss his childhood days, upbringing, and his love for his homeland.
Sometimes you can be a bit playful with your interviewer regarding the fashion spice, depending on the company. One thing should be kept in mind, however; the spice of this fashion must be subtle and tasteful and as long as it retains that feel, it can create room for discussion with your interviewer thus, building rapport.
6. Always Be Prepared For The “What’s Your Weakness” Question
This is a part where many get it all wrong. When thrown such a question, some people just give a straight-up answer like “I’m too much of a hyper-perfectionist, so I tend to always micromanage projects.”
If you think the answer I provided above is what the interviewer really wants from you, then you’ve just blown your cover; falling short of the interviewer’s expectation.
Now here is the real deal: the interviewer is not just interested in the exposition of your sincere weakness, rather, how you’ve been working towards overcoming them.
Let me ask you. What progress have you made so far in terminating your weakness? What strategies have you put in place? What disciplinary steps have you taken towards all that? The answer to those questions are all the interviewer seeks from you. Those answers will stop at nothing but giving you an edge over your competitors who are probably short of this knowledge.
At this point, I will be giving you a sample format on how to deal with questions like that.
Interviewer: “So, tell me. What’s your weakness?”
Applicant (Poor answer): “My weakness is, I usually find it difficult to delegate duties to people, I’m always caught up in the micro managerial spectrum.”
Applicant (Good answer): “I’m sometimes, a victim of micro managerial tendencies. Though, I’ve been taking positive steps towards the alleviation of that by understanding the need for diversity in skills/operations, division of labor and allowing people to do what they know how to do best.
I’ve also come to realize that I’m not fit for every role, so I usually compel myself to delegate functions to the right people for the job and sometimes grant them carte blanche in disposition of their duties.”
Now that’s what I mean. You provide a weakness, then you provide counter measures. That’s how the game is being played. Portraying a sense of correction towards your weakness in the interviewer’s front will definitely heighten your chances of getting that job. Recruiters can’t help but feel intense love for that attitude.
7. Apply The PAR Rule
Most times in the course of our interview, we find ourselves narrating a story or an anecdote of some sort to our interviewer. And too many times, we often narrate stories in a disorganized standard, sometimes not knowing the right place to insert such a story.
Some of us have got the best experience in life which we can share with our interviewer but we tend to forget them on the spot.
However, there is way in which we can always remember the appropriate anecdote to tell with regards to the situation and always have it ready within our attention in an organized standard.
This is what I call the PAR rule:
- P = Problem – what was the situation?
- A = Action – what step or action did you do to solve it?
- R = Result – what really changed afterward?
With this formula well utilized, you can maneuver the situation every step of the way to fit your anecdote into a variety of questions that will be thrown to you.
For example, “tell me how you’ve dealt with your biggest challenge?”
- Problem: “during my time at Oracle, a tech company in California. We faced a big challenge of reaching out to students and getting them to use our educational software; it was more of self-help, study guide software that also covers some vital subjects of study.
Not just that, the students we manage to reach out to did not believe so well in our software; they saw it as a waste of money and time. After all, they have their professors to guide them all through the way.
One thing is sure. We needed to convince these students otherwise in order to add value to their academic standards. We also needed to market this software to them; after all, they are the targeted audience in relation to our software.
Whatever strategy we are thinking of, we needed to be fast and efficient since tech-competition was much and ads were no longer efficient in our case.”
- Action: “finally it dawned on us that we are yet to apply one last authoritative marketing strategy, a strategy that will act as killing two birds with just one stone.
What if we can get those professors who students rely so much upon to do the marketing for us?
It’s going to be a bombshell outcome, giving us exactly what we want, if not more. By getting the professors to do this job for us, we are solving two problems here:
Firstly, we are helping the students improve their academic standard and excellence, being the original intent behind the creation of this software.
And secondly, we are relieving the professors of some of their duties by virtue of the fact that the software covers some important subjects of study, making life a little bit stressful for them.
That is exactly how we retreat and re-strategized, coming up with some modifications for the software and executed the plan; meeting up with the most influential professors, and making them see reasons why this software needs to be out there, impacting values on people’s life.
Just like we planned, the professors could not resist the offer; they saw reasons with us and particularly how this software will provide them with some more resources to work with, making their job a whole lot easier.
So the professors took it upon themselves to convince the students of the usefulness of our software and we provided them with the necessary resources to enhance and facilitate the crusade”
- Result: “This strategy was indeed very effective, it was like a break out of a new age. In our modification of that software, there is an added feature that allows students to add new, custom subjects of study and make notes.
Students were now looking up to our software more than their books. Some lost the need to attend classes with books; after all, they have all they want in their pads and smartphones.
It was a smart plan since the convincing came from professors whom they trust so well and so, the students saw it as something authentic and subscribed to it; a rather wise choice.
Our dominating-force was doubled in the tech industry. We did not just created a life changer, we ushered in a new age, we made history; leaving a landmark in the sands of time, and lastly, we made millions of dollars.”
Now that’s a typical example of what I mean. Always take your time to craft out stories like that, following strictly the PAR rule. If you can do that, you will be surprised at how you magically craft out a well plotted story, fitting appropriately to the situation at hand. Know what’s best for you? Start practicing!
8. Try To Schedule For Tuesdays At 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Knowing the best time that will yield optimum results in your interview is a strategy to employ at all costs. So at this point I’ll tell you that the best play here is getting your interview to happen on Tuesdays around the hours of 10:00 am to 10:30 am.
It’s important to consider that your interviewer has numerous responsibilities to handle. They are responding to one project or the other, responding to mails and lastly attending to other numerous applicants; not just you.
With that on our radar, meeting them in their most relaxed mental state is definitely the best move to reckon with.
Two reasons why you should consider Tuesdays as the best day include:
- Employees tend to gear up and wind down on Mondays and Fridays respectively. Similarly, avoid the first and last slot of any workday.
- Do not make the mistake of making it to the interview during lunchtime. Few minutes before lunchtime, the interviewer may be too hungry to pay attention to you. Also, minutes after lunchtime the interviewer may be induced in food coma.
Research has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that taking the earliest slot is the best play. This is particularly because under circumstances where quick decisions are to be made without much deliberation, preferences will be guided unconsciously by the options presented first.
During The Interview
9. Be Practical With Analytical Question
Some questions thrown to you during the course of your interview will prove analytical. And with respect to the answers you’ll provide, you have to be analytical whether you are solving for an exact figure or a rough estimate.
By that I mean you don’t just give a straight-up answer by pronouncing an exact figure like “45” after a brief moment of silence; you need to be able to walk your interviewer all through the process of how you got your answer, sharing your assumptions and calculations.
This helps to prove your skill of reasoning and communication. And trust me, it an added advantage in the sight of your interviewer.
10. Try Asking Questions That Kills Two Bird With One Stone
Towards the end of the interview, it’ll be your chance to create a lasting and final impression by asking a question, a question that is supposed to heighten your chance of getting that job; this is an opportunity to exploit, do not blow it!
Firstly your questions must be like a stone trying to kill two birds. What I simply mean is asking an authentic question and simultaneously, revealing something positive about you. This is where many fall short; they only do the first and leave the second out of place.
For the sake of clarity, I’ll be giving you just an instance of what I mean.
- Poor: So far, what’s (company)’s fastest-growing division?
- Good: Considering your quarterly review, your revenue soared by 29% and that got me thinking. Is it due to a kind of division within the company?
This is highly effective particularly when you’ve not been opportune to express a major accomplishment or a specific publication.
11. Be Courageous And Ask This Last Question
There is one more question to be asked and I love it because it takes gut – which is why you need it to heighten your chances of getting hired.
According to Luke Fernandez, Spredfast Product Manager referred to this question as “a single piece of advice that has always made a difference”. Before your interview ends, here is the question you need to ask:
“By chance, have I uttered anything in this interview or of some sort or given you any reason to doubt my fitness for this role?”
This is boldness at its peak. If honestly put together, it conveys true desire and confidence – which is highly needed in most companies. Luke Fernandez went further to explain how successful the question has proven to be over the years gone by.
He claims being commended for that questions by companies like YouTube, Google, Twitter just to name a few. As a matter of fact, on one occasion an interviewer actually replied him saying “yes! And you’ve just given me the chance to clarify something important that would have otherwise, lost me an offer.”
For the records, that is truly badass! If you ever walk away from that interview room, leaving behind such an impression, you did very well.
After The Interview
12. Send A Well Personalized Thank You Mail
It’s indeed a nice shot to always thank your interviewer within the space of 24 hours after your interview. It actually shows immense and sincere gratitude. On further note, it creates room for dialogue even if you are not as lucky as getting the job.
In most cases, recruiters, do well to reach out to those emails, informing them of new job opportunities and that’s a good practice.
Just for your sake, I’ll be presenting a sample to you so you get an overall idea of what I mean. Here is the deal:
Really want to appreciate your taking time to discuss with me earlier today. It was an enjoyable moment and indeed an educative one at that.
I really love the way you handled situations regarding your projects and how you’ve been anchoring them so far. It’s definitely a skill that is highly beneficial in any value-driven entity. Keep pushing.
Hope your meeting with the board went well as planned. Best wishes on further projects. Thanks.
This is it. All you have to do is follow the format and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
If there is one thing I can assure you, you are about to smash that next interview, leaving behind a killer impression provided the whole tips are duly followed and practiced.