Developing Your Career


Four Tips that Will Help You Shine on Your Next Interview

By Lee Hecht Harrison on April 7, 2015

A bad hire is a costly mistake. As a result, organizations are always seeking ways to improve how they screen and select candidates for not only performance, but for cultural fit. While a resume may be replete with keywords that suggest a candidate has the right skills and experience, it’s much more difficult to determine if the candidate will be the right addition to the team and the organization.

In a recent article in, Josh Tolan, CEO of video interviewing platform company Spark Hire, cautions decision-makers about eight warning signs of problem employees they should recognize when interviewing candidates. From the candidate’s perspective, these eight signs provide a practice run of issues that may arise during an interview, and how the interviewer may be judging candidates based on responses or nonverbal communication.

With some targeted preparation, you can avoid these issues. Here are four tips to ensure your next interview positions you not only as the best qualified candidate, but as a great choice for the team:

  1. Do your research. With the wealth of information available via the Internet, it’s problematic when a candidate is uninformed about a potential employer. Visit the company’s website to understand the organization’s mission, history and products. Check out the top social networking sites for both the organization and interviewer. Review corporate blogs and discussion groups. Reach out to your networking contacts for their input about the company.
  2. Focus on the results of your past performance. Using a model like “SOAR” (Situation, Obstacles, Actions, Results), develop powerful examples reflecting your past performance for tough interview questions. By highlighting what you’ve accomplished in the past, you’re also shining a light on the value you’ll add in the future.
  3. Use nonverbal communication to your advantage. Establish eye contact. If it’s a video interview, practice with a friend until you can comfortably look into the camera and not at the computer screen. As Tolan reports, communications-analytics specialists recommend making eye contact “60 to 70 percent of the time to create a sense of emotional connection.”
  4. Accentuate the positive. Make it a priority to convey an upbeat, enthusiastic disposition. Focus on what you like to do, projects you’ve enjoyed, what you’ve learned from teams, and the positive qualities of previous managers. Avoid complaining about your former employer. Even the slightest whiff of negativity will take you out of the running.

Just 30 minutes of pre-interview research and planning could be the deciding factor between you and your competition. Being mindful of common sense strategies—coupled with careful preparation—can elevate you from run-of-the-mill candidate to top-tier status.

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