Some things never change, despite a worldwide pandemic and a topsy-turvy job market. One of those non-changers is that first impressions matter at your job interviews. In 2018 they mattered; in 2020, they mattered; and they still matter in 2022. Maybe even more now. Why?
Because hiring managers have become weary of the cycle of never-ending job openings and interviews with so-so candidates, they long for “wow” candidates. You can be that “wow” candidate. Whether in person, via Zoom, or on the telephone, you can make a dynamite first impression and rise above the sea of job seekers.
Dissect the job post
First things first, before preparing any answers or questions for the interview, dive into the job posting. Remember that your job is to convince this weary hiring manager that you are the best person to fill this job, and you can only do that after gaining a deep understanding of what the position involves.
Career and interview coach Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, suggests using a three-column table when preparing to communicate how you can fulfill the job requirements. “In the first column, write the job duties and requirements listed in the job posting. Then, in the second column, describe your past responsibilities associated with each item in the first column. Finally, in the third column, highlight your past accomplishments associated with the items in the first and second columns.”
You now have at your fingertips all the info needed to ace questions related to your preparedness to handle the job duties of this particular position.
Prepare and practice
While interviewing in 2022 may have a different look and feel, the common questions haven’t changed, nor the need for a snappy “elevator pitch.” Think of your pitch as a movie trailer that packs a powerful, enticing punch in about 60 to 90 seconds, acting as a preview to the rest of the interview.
After the pitch come the questions, like “Tell me about yourself . . . ” and “Why are you interested in this position?”
Prepare concise answers that highlight the value you will bring to the company if hired. Then practice, practice, practice. Conduct a mock interview with a friend. Go a step further by recording the practice session so that you can review it for points of improvement. Note your body language and make adjustments accordingly. The more comfortable you feel, the better presentation you will make.
Be ready with examples of your work
Today’s employers want evidence to back up claims of creativity, innovation, organization, leadership, initiative, and the list goes on. And there’s nothing better than real-life examples to convince them that you’ve got what it takes to fulfill the responsibilities for a particular position and to bring value to their company. Remember to include applicable volunteer or community involvement. Again, prepare a cliff’s-notes version of your accomplishments and experiences so as not to drone on unnecessarily.
Lead and finish with authenticity and positivity
A positive attitude and a spirit of genuine authenticity will leave a lasting impact on the interviewer. A warm smile, engaging body language, and consistent eye contact will signal an “all in” commitment to this position, to this company.