Candidate may be king, but you still need to ace the interview…

It’s an interview… my skills are in demand, so this is just a formality, right?

Wrong, and if you truly believed that, you wouldn’t be ‘Googling’ ways to ace an interview. So dispel the myth that despite the candidate currently being king, employer expectations are very high and rightfully so.

And just in case you were in any doubt, the purpose of an interview is to establish how you can help a future manager succeed by matching the employer’s requirements with your skills, experience and knowledge. Thus, making a positive and lasting impression on the interviewer/s has got be to your core objective.

Also, try to remember that it’s not just you under scrutiny; make sure the discussion is a two-way interrogation. Ask questions, actively participate in the interview to reinforce your interest in the role and ensure any reservations the interviewer may have about you are alleviated.

However, by questions I don’t mean:

  • Why is the position available?
  • Is there a formal training programme?
  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • What do you enjoy most about working here?
  • What was it about my CV that most appealed to you?

Although these are really great questions, they aren’t in anyway unique; an interviewer will have heard them over and over throughout the interview process and that will scupper any chance you had of standing out. You know that core objective I mentioned earlier?

The reality is, to really standout, you need more than good skills and experience; you need to push your boundaries and lose the conservative and boring questions to become an exception to the rule.

Regardless of the position you are interviewing for, the next time you’re faced with, ‘so do you have any questions for me?’ take the bull by the horns and ask one or two of the following:

  • Do you have any reservations about my skills or experience?
  • Is there any reason why you think I’m not suitable for this position?
  • What’s the one question you’ve being dying to ask about me, but haven’t?
  • What have I inadvertently said or done that’s inconsistent with your view of the perfect candidate?

These questions are a great way to put the interviewer on the spot. Everyone has a view of the perfect candidate and by addressing any of these points you demonstrate your openness to feedback and criticism, exhibiting your commitment to personal improvement.

Just remember, if you take this route and ask these questions, there is always the possibility you’ll get a negative response. The interviewer may indicate you’ve answered something in the wrong way, your skills don’t quite meet the requirements or your experience falls short in relation to other prospects. At the time I’m sure this will seem like the worse possible outcome, but on reflection, is it really?

Nope, not at all, relish with open arms the tangible, constructive feedback you’ve just received! 
Continue to demonstrate your ability to actively listen by noting what they say and use it to develop an identified area of weakness to make you the hire of choice in the future.

Always close an interview with a thank you and a sincere acknowledgement of their time and appreciation for their advice on your performance, walking out with the same level of confidence that you walked in with.

Go get ‘em tiger, I wish you the best of luck, not that you’ll need it!

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