From Hello to Hired: How to Stand Out in Your Next Interview
Our expert advice was recently featured in a story on Girlboss: 5 Managers on What Makes Someone an Instant Hire. It’s a big article that has a lot of great information in it so we encourage you to read it! In the meantime, here is a highlight reel of our thoughts on how to take your next interview from “hello” to “hired” with confidence!
How can I immediately spark the interest of a hiring manager?
Jenna says: During an interview, I am asking myself, “Does the candidate seem engaged, have an easy confidence and are they able to talk to people?” No matter the position, people skills are important so I’m paying attention to those first. If the meeting is in-person, I’m also taking note of body language (eye contact, a good handshake, upright posture) and the person’s ability to read the room.
What intangibles do you notice during an interview?
Dana says: An “instant hire” has pride in themselves, is authentic, has a bright outlook for the future, and is able to be self-reflective. Interviewing is nerve-wracking, so I appreciate when a candidate is self-aware and slows down a bit: takes a deep breath to calm their nerves, asks for a question to be repeated so they fully understand what is being asked, or uses a sip of water to center their response.
On the flipside, we want the interview to feel like a conversation, and it is a turnoff when a candidate tries to take over the interview by being boastful, going on unnecessary tangents, or not paying attention to social cues.
How do I prepare for an interview?
Dana says: Do your research! Or, as I like to put it KYP– Know Your Personnel. It's a sports term that refers to studying your opponents so you know what plays to run to be most effective. Arm yourself with information so you know what experiences you want to highlight, and how to frame them to be most effective in an interview. Start with the company website, check the most recent press releases, and what social media channels the company uses/promotes. If you don't have them already, ask for the names of the people you will be interviewing with and check out their LinkedIn profiles. Do a quick Google News search for recent company announcements you can speak to. The goal is to understand what the company does and to the best of your ability, what the environment is like.
What types of candidate questions impress you?
Jenna says: Questions that go beyond the standard “Why do you like working here?”, are specifically tied to the role or you as the candidate (ex: what do you think will be my biggest challenge in the ramp-up period), and show the candidate has done their research (ex: I know you were here in 2018 when the CEO changed, how has that impacted your experience leading the Marketing Team?)
How should I follow-up?
Jenna says: A prompt, personalized, well-written, and PROOFREAD thank you note. Recap something specific from our conversation, and why you’re interested in the opportunity. If we discussed specific timelines for next steps, follow-up according to those timelines. If not, checking in a week after the interview is good. Even if you really want the job, it’s not appropriate to follow-up daily; not following up at all will make me question your interest.
What else is important?
Jenna says: The most important thing is to show up as the best version of yourself. Do what you need to make sure you’re in the right mindset to confront the unknown with confidence. How do you feel when you are with you best friend in the world? Find that feeling and do what you can to emulate it on interview day.
Dana says: We call it 'shine'– what makes you feel your most authentic, confident self. For an interview, it is absolutely doing your research. And it's whatever pumps you up and/or helps you find your zen. If you like to hit the gym, don't skip it on the day of the interview. If you need some quiet, schedule 30 minutes to get centered before your interview. Point being, be intentional about doing what you need to do to find your shine before an interview.