Three MORE Tips to Nailing the Interview

Hammer and Nail

In the last post about interviewing well, I laid out the first three plays to creating a successful meeting. But there’s more!

In that post, I wrote about that time I smelled a little too good. But what about the one when I told the interviewer that I wasn’t sure I would take the job if it was offered? Say it isn’t so!! I was being honest. But sometimes it’s not the best policy. My own turmoil over wanting to both find a new job and be loyal to my current employer caused me to lose my mind. I would never recommend saying something like that to a potential employer – at least not if you really want the job. #epicinterviewfail

However, I have lots of experience with successfully navigating interview waters – as both the interviewee and the interviewer. Here are three more points that could mean the difference between you and the next applicant.

1. Ask great questions. Show that you have done your research on the company by asking insightful, relevant questions. This will communicate a spirit of initiative, enthusiasm and attention to detail. Their answers will also give you insight into whether or not they are someone with whom you want to be involved. Try some of these:

  • Question WordsAsk about what they do, their processes and expectations.
  • Ask about the team climate. Do employees/members collaborate or work independently? How does the boss like employees to handle conflicts that arise? What is done in the company to promote morale and team building?
  • Spend time before the interview writing out relevant questions to take with you. Even if all your questions are answered during the interview, refer to your list and let them know they hit all your highlights. Ask for elaboration if applicable. This shows them that you really did do your homework and paid attention during the interview.
  • Consider what values need to met for the organization to be a great fit for you. Ask questions that address these values. This tells the interviewers that you are serious about, not just being a great addition, but also finding a place that promotes that ability.

5. Don’t over share. Inevitably the interviewer will ask what your strengths and weaknesses are. They are looking for a perfect candidate. Hopefully they are wise enough to realize that person doesn’t exist. It’s important to be honest with people, but that doesn’t mean airing all your dirty laundry. Remember my disastrous attempt at honesty? Try thinking about it this way.

  • Be prepared to share three areas of strength. Be specific about things you do well and are passionate about, as well as, how those qualities will help the organization to meet their goals. Remember, it’s all about meeting their goals!
  • Be prepared to share UP TO three areas of improvement. Be relevant to the situation. And share how you are working to make those improvements – this is paramount. Give three IF they ask for three, or two if they just ask for some.
  • Remember that you are working to prove why they SHOULD hire you, not why they SHOULDN’T.
  • Have integrity. If the offer is on the table and you know you really don’t have what it takes, respectfully decline. Choosing a job that isn’t the right fit for you creates more stress in your life. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Bird eating prickly pear6. Remember Who is in control. When I applied for one of my first jobs in college, my dear friend gave me words of wisdom I’ve never forgotten. She said, “If God wants you to have the job, you’ll have the job.” The Lord asks us to be good stewards of what he has given us ~ 1 Peter 4:10-11. He also promises to care for us, as he does for the birds of the sky ~ Matthew 6:26. When we do the best we can, to use the talents we have been given and then trust Him for the final outcome, that is better than the best we can hope for. #teameffort

Remember that epic fail I mentioned earlier? It turned out to be God’s providence. He was saving me for the best situation. I did give more information than I should have, but He could have redeemed that if He chose to. I knew in that moment that I would just have to trust Him and believe His goodness. History proves to me that He will never fail.

If you are looking for more in depth help with career direction, check out career coach Dan Miller’s blog and podcast at 48 Days to the Work You Love. He’s the go-to guy!

Have you ever been on the other side of the table? What tips do you have for interviewees? What great question do you always ask an interviewer? Is it as hard for you as it is for me to trust God to bring you the right job?