Research demonstrates that an interview is either won or lost based on two essential ingredients. When combined, these ingredients undoubtedly result in interview success. What are these essentials?
The challenge with both of these ‘additives?’ If they are not applied in appropriate measure they can become too concentrated and in some cases, may even become lethal. Truth be told, both walk a fine line: confidence can easily become arrogance and (over) enthusiasm may be interpreted as desperation.
Ask smart, savvy, and well-timed questions.
One of the best ways to bring these two ingredients to the table without going overboard is to ‘pepper’ them throughout the interview by asking smart, savvy, and well-timed questions.
One of the most common pieces of positive post-interview feedback we receive is that interviewers were impressed with the quality of thoughtful questions posed by the interviewee. Conversely, when we receive feedback that the interviewee “did not have any questions for us,” it’s often a deal breaker.
Avoid generic interview questions.
Gone are the days of generic interview questions like ‘how do you define success in this role’? To actively demonstrate both confidence and enthusiasm you want to ensure you ‘attach’ yourself to the job in question. Meaning, you want to demonstrate that you can envision yourself in the job and establish how you will thoughtfully approach the role (and its mandate).
Asking astute, tailored (vs. generic) questions allows your interviewer to travel with you as you exhibit how you would tackle the role once it is awarded to you.
Here are a few tips how to craft questions that demonstrate competencies:
- Research your interviewer and ask them specific questions about their career-path and how they have landed at the company and why they chose to sign on.
- Ask your interviewer questions around what projects they currently have in motion that are giving them career-joy or challenging them.
- Study the company’s newsroom, press releases, and/or coverage and craft a question or two about something currently on their radar that few other interviewees would know about.
- If the annual report is available online, look through it and derive a few questions from the inclusions.
- Ask questions around mandate and contributing to bottom line (increasing revenue, decreasing expenses, improving efficiencies) i.e. “How your role can best make a contribution to overall organizational health?”
- Rather than asking for your interviewer to articulate the organizational culture, ask them to describe how their teams celebrate success and takes corrective action when they have gone off course.
- Review the social feeds, see what stories are being told, and cite a few of them when zeroing in on culture, brand, and values.
Bring all of the above in a handy notebook and get ready to reap the benefits.