Master the nuances of job interview communication for your next face-to-face, and advance to the next step in the executive hiring process.
Provided by BlueSteps Executive Career Service
Lack of company culture fit is one of the most common reasons new hires end up leaving. To assess a candidate’s fit, companies often conduct multiple interviews during which the candidate has to meet with various employees. This section will cover some ways you can ace your interview and be sure to move on to the next stage of the hiring process.
Keep Calm and Turn off All Electronic Devices
Turn your phone off and put it away before you walk into the company building. This will guarantee that you are not distracted. Pay attention and make eye contact throughout the interview. Sit up straight, with your arms and legs unfolded. When asked a question, take a few seconds to think before answering so that you can give a thoughtful response. Most importantly: Have fun! Share your ideas and insights into the industry and ask questions that will help you learn more about how the company works and where they fit into the industry.
Break the Ice
Go ahead and make the first move when you’re meeting an interviewer by extending your hand for an introductory handshake. If the interviewer doesn’t already do so after you are both settled in, try to break the ice by talking about something you noticed you both have in common during your research. If you didn’t find any commonalities with this person, mention something related to the weather. This shows that you are an open, confident person (even if you are not), and makes the interviewer feel comfortable with you.
Speak in Sound Bites
Our attention spans have gotten shorter, so to perform well during your next interview, you’ll need to answer questions in one to two-minute sound bite stories. Try to respond using interesting, relatable stories that answer the question succinctly, precisely, and include examples that reinforce your brand message. An excellent way to approach this is by using the CAR method (Challenge with context, Actions, and Results). This approach allows you to show how you’ve handled challenges that relate to the questions asked by the interviewer by briefly explaining the situation and context, what you did to solve it, and how everything turned out, including any achievements you made.
Also, keep in mind that failed projects are not always a negative if you exceled and learned from them. During an interview, be prepared to offer examples of your weaknesses and failures and explain how you moved past the situation, what you learned, and anything you gained from the experience.
As you answer each interview question with these sound bite stories, find ways to make them as relevant as possible to the position and company you’re interviewing for based on the research you’ve conducted beforehand. It’s human nature to remember stories better than lists or numbers; so besides being more engaging, this method will ensure that the interviewer remembers your responses better. You may even decide to prepare 10-12 stories as you prepare for the interview so you can answer as many questions as possible using this engaging method.
Sell Brand You
During the interview, your interviewers are trying to figure out how you’re different from the other qualified candidates they’re speaking to. Therefore, you must differentiate yourself from other similar executives. You can do this by creating five unique selling points and weaving them (with real-life supporting examples) throughout your interview answers. What do you want your interviewers to remember about you?
Analyze Culture Fit
The interviewers are not the only ones who should be assessing culture fit – you should be too. Before the interview, prepare a list of three to five questions that will give you additional insights. As you speak with various hiring executives and search consultants about the company and the role, look out for any red flags and pay attention to your instincts. If you feel like this may not be the right career move for you after the interview, don’t move forward with the interview process.
End the Interview on a High Note
If you’ve paid attention during the interview and have done research beforehand on the company, you should be able to pull together a final one to two minute statement that explains why you think you’d be the best person for the position. After your final statement, reiterate your interest in the position, remind the interviewer of your unique selling points, and talk about the next steps in the hiring process. Never leave an interview without being clear on what the next steps are and if there are any action items you need to take next or further information you need to send.
This article was provided by BlueSteps. BlueSteps is the executive career management service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC). Boyden is a member of AESC. AESC’s BlueSteps helps 100,000+ executives manage their careers, track their goals and elevate their visibility to the right search firms. Get started >
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Candidate and interviewer…a unique interaction that has serious implications for the future of both parties. If you are the potential employee, your fit with the corporate culture and the honesty of your statements will be seen as vital to your future customers, co-workers, suppliers and stockholders.