How to Ace an Interview

I was thinking the other day -- just how many interviews have I conducted? I've been doing this for 12 years and I interview four people a day, on average; based on 250 working days a year, that's roughly 12,000 interviews! Other than feeling rather old all of a sudden, I feel somewhat equipped to comment on what makes a good interview since I've seen many good (and many not so good) over the years. Here are a few suggestions… 

1.  Research the opportunity - Coming prepared with thoughtful questions shows an interviewer that you are interested and that you have given the opportunity a lot of thought. A good rule of thumb is to bring four or five good questions, however don’t feel compelled to ask them all. Gauge your audience and be mindful of the time.

2.   Bring your most up to date résumé and something to take notes onHaving an updated résumé and something to take notes on shows your genuine interest in the role and speaks to your organizational skills.  If you think of questions during the interview, jot them down and ask them when given the chance. This will ensure you leave the interview fully aware and show the interviewer you are serious about the opportunity.

3.   Be ready to discuss your background in detail - Before an interview, review your résumé; you should be able to cite accomplishments, highlights, and reasons for leaving each position.  You alone are the expert on your background and you need to come across as such. This is your story, so you should have great comfort in telling it.  

4.   Be able to provide examples - As you prepare for the interview make a list of your accomplishments, your challenges and how you overcame them, and some examples that speak to your leadership style. A little preparation goes a long way and having a few notes handy is okay in case you get stumped.

5.   Be Concise - It's important to be concise when answering questions. Make sure you're providing enough detail in your answers, but do not ramble. Three to four minutes per question is generally enough time to provide an adequate answer. The best approach is to ask if you have answered the question and be able to provide more detail if requested. 

6.     Communicate your interest and motivation for the role - Many people forget to clearly express their interest in the opportunity. Employers want to make offers to individuals who are keenly interested in the job, so let them know it! Enthusiasm won’t hurt you, but perceived complacency will every time. While the interview is wrapping up say something like, “I really appreciate your consideration of me as a candidate; I’m very interested in this opportunity and hope I am selected to move forward in the process.” It’s more than good manners -- it’s common sense and it takes away any doubt in terms of your interest.