Arguably, the most crucial part of the job search. An interview can make or break an opportunity. So to help you really prepare, we’re going to dissect and analyze an entire interview from start to finish. I’ll be sprinkling in a mix of tips about body language, etiquette, and how to answer common questions, like when exactly does the interview start? How do you deal with nerves?
And how soon can you follow up? For years, athletes have used science and data analysis to improve. Now we are doing the same for job seekers everywhere. This is Job Science. Meet Anya, a recent grad majoring in business administration.
She’s interviewing for an entry level project management position. Note her posture. Head up, shoulders pulled back, no slouching, and no laid-backness. The interview begins the minute you walk into the building. Anya treats everyone in the office with respect while keeping eye contact.
From security personnel to receptionists. Anyone you run into on your way in could be asked to give feedback on you. It’s normal to be nervous.
When nerves kick in, the natural human response is to take short breaths and breathe faster. Stay calm by taking a deep breath before entering.
Hold it. Count to three and then slowly breathe out. Pause. First, ace those introductions. Greet everyone in a way that is authentic to you, like, hey, nice to meet you.
And then say their name. That one always works. You know you’re more likely to remember their name if you say it out loud when you first meet.
A lot of the time, small talk comes up before any questions. It’s good to have a few current events or topics in mind.
You can’t possibly predict what they’re going to ask. But you can practice answering the common ones like, why do you want to work here? What makes you unique? Let’s see what our interviewer asks. So I want to hear more.
Tell me a little about your experience and what you’d bring to this role? Pause. When this is asked, they’re looking to learn what makes you stand out. Be honest with your answers. If that means having to pause and think for a second, that is alright.
Think about your past experiences and how the role lines up with your future goals. It never hurts to be honest. Great question. Ever since I was young, I’ve always been the organized one of my family, whether it was helping my parents schedule vacations or color-coordinating my closet.
Naturally, that lifestyle got me here, project management.
I’ve been a people-person for as long as I can remember. Plain and simple. I love team-building and making sure everyone has a part. Just the other month– Ooh, just really quick. Don’t speak negatively about previous places you’ve worked.
Instead, talk about what you’ve learned. I helped lead a team of five to deliver a three-week sales project a few days ahead of schedule. I’d love to bring these things here. Perfect. A response like this not only answers the question but also shows off her personality.
But remember, there’s no one right way to interview and answer questions. Be yourself, and let your personality shine. Be aware of your movements. Practice polite, confident body language. Subtly miming your interviewers posture can actually create a sense of connection.
Of all places, unnecessary movements are hard to ignore in an interview. Whether it’s tapping your fingers or bouncing your leg, be aware and stay present.
Hey, it’s been great chatting so far. I guess my last question is, do you have any questions for me? Oh, this is a hot one.
Make sure to have a short list of questions for your employer in your back pocket. Ask the questions you would if you got the job. If tomorrow was your first day what would you want to know from the manager. Even if you don’t have any burning questions, asking a few shows that you did your homework and that you really care. Some include, what do you like best about working here?
What are some mistakes people have made in this position? What is a goal you’re currently working toward? How will my performance be evaluated? Well, I did read that you’re expanding your software team next quarter.
I’m curious how you plan to carry that out.
The interview isn’t actually over. Always follow up within 24 hours with the thank you email to the hiring manager. This can be a quick note simply thanking them for their time. Or a longer one that elaborates on some of the things you talked about. It’s key to leaving a lasting impression.