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  • Lilia Tsalenko

Mastering the Art of Job Interviews: How to Take Control and Succeed

Updated: Apr 7, 2023


Congratulations on securing an interview! Whether you're feeling rusty after a long time since your last interview or eagerly anticipating a job you're excited about, it's important to approach the process with the right mindset.

Do you know that over 75% of the hires do not meet must-have job requirements spelled out in the role description? Your attitude, energy, and motivation accounts for more than 50% of your success!


In this blog post, we will be discussing some high-level tips to help you make the most of your interview experience. Each tip will be explored in more detail in future posts. By the end of this series, you'll have a better understanding of how to ace your interviews with confidence.


Approach each interview with a positive attitude

Approaching each interview with a positive attitude is crucial for making a great impression! Remember, the folks you'll be chatting with are busy and taking time out of their day to get to know you. So, it's important to show genuine interest in the company and be thankful for the opportunity to interview. They're rooting for you, so empathize with them and be curious. Don't stress if they haven't had a chance to check out your profile or resume beforehand, just approach the interview with an open mind and a willingness to connect with your interviewers.


Avoid looking desperate

Feeling like you need a job ASAP can be tough, but it's important to avoid coming across as desperate. Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, try to stay calm and explore other options like temporary work, personal projects, courses, or volunteering that align with your career goals. The key is to do things that bring you joy, not add more pressure! Not only will this help you build skills and experience, but it can also give you a fresh perspective and make you a stronger candidate in the long run.


Ask questions before giving answers

Don't be too quick to jump into answering the interviewer's questions. Take a breath and ask some questions of your own first. And don't assume you know what they mean by their questions! Clarify and validate your understanding with the interviewer. This will not only show your thought process but also give you a better idea of what they're looking for in a candidate, so you can tailor your responses to their needs. Remember, interviews are a two-way street, so use this as an opportunity to connect with your interviewer and show your interest in the position. Before the interview, make a list of questions you want to ask and practice them. Trust me, being prepared will help calm those pre-interview jitters.

Illustration:

  • You: Do you mind if I ask you a question before I share my story? I want to make sure that what I am sharing is relevant and tangible for you.

  • Interviewer: Of course!

  • You: Can you describe the ideal partner for you in the ROLE NAME position?

Treat the interview as a conversation

Think of the interview as a conversation, not a one-sided monologue. Actively listen to the interviewer and check in periodically to make sure they're engaged and interested in what you have to say. Interrupting the interviewer can prevent them from asking relevant questions, so avoid doing so at all costs. Instead, focus on actively listening to their questions and responses.

Illustration:

I coached a data scientist who was traveling to the US for interviews with two companies. As he came from Israel, where the conversation culture is direct and energetic, with frequent interruptions, I advised him to avoid interrupting and focus on active listening. He applied this advice and aced all the interviews, receiving offers from both companies. He later told me that the tip to control his urges to interrupt was the best advice he ever received!


Do your homework

One key to making a unique and lasting impression in an interview is to rehearse your stories ahead of time. By highlighting your approach to problem-solving, your achievements, and the lessons you've learned, you can demonstrate your strengths and potential as a leader in the company. It's important to emphasize the value you can bring to the company as well.

Tips:

  • Rehearse your stories about each project mentioned on your resume in front of the mirror and time them. Your stories should not be longer than three minutes.

  • If you can't make a story exciting, consider removing the project from your resume.

  • Remember all the important details about each story, but don't share them all at once. Use "hooks" to turn your stories into conversations that highlight your strengths and personality, especially those that are relevant to the role you're interviewing for.

A picture is worth a thousand words

In a sea of candidates, it can be tough to stand out and leave a lasting impression. But with the right approach, you can wow your interviewers and leave them eager to learn more.

One powerful way to do this is through visual aids like project diagrams. By taking the time to create clear and simple diagrams for each project on your resume, you can highlight key details such as high-level business goals, team inter-dependencies, and your own impact on the project. By incorporating this approach, you come across as a seasoned professional that sees a big picture and can be in a leadership role.

Whether you share them over Zoom or draw them on a whiteboard during the interview, these diagrams can help you communicate complex ideas in a way that's engaging and memorable.

Don't worry if you're not a skilled artist - the goal is simply to create diagrams that effectively convey your message. And the best part? You can reuse these diagrams to build a portfolio of your projects and refer to them in future conversations.

A little secret:

Almost nobody uses project diagrams in their interviews and very few people are able to create them! So what are you waiting for? Let your diagrams do the talking and impress your interviewers with your deep understanding and unique perspective


Consider hiring a Career Coach

Investing in a long-term relationship with the right Career Coach can yield a tremendous return on investment. A skilled Career Coach can help you develop and refine your professional story, broaden your career options, boost your confidence, optimize your resume and online presence, practice your interview skills, expand your network, negotiate job offers, and serve as a trusted partner throughout your professional journey.

A little secret:

Even in the unfortunate event of a layoff, a Career Coach can help you significantly improve your severance package through effective negotiation strategies.


Remember, each interview is a learning opportunity to help you improve your skills and prepare for future interviews. By approaching each interview with a focus on learning and growth, you'll not only increase your chances of success but also develop a positive mindset driven by intellectual curiosity. Good luck!


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