In order to land a job interview, you must start with submitting a great resume. Submitting resumes is generally done by, “apply now”, the way many apply for consideration to a job requisition. Even if not applying the tradition way, let’s say, emailing someone in your network about an opportunity- you will still need a great resume.
Today, resumes have to be written for applicant tracking systems (ATS). ATS extracts information from an applicant’s resume to build a digital applicant profile that can be searched, filtered, and/or ranked. The goal is to quickly cull out anyone who is under-qualified, make the applicant pool smaller, and quickly identify the top candidates for Recruiters.
In the United States, 98% of organizations use ATS, so a resume that is ATS friendly is part one for landing and acing a job interview. To do this, a resume must have certain formatting and keywords to get the resume through the scan and into the hands of a Recruiter. Without a resume that works with and for today’s technology and requirements, an interview can be difficult to land.
Here’s a great DIY Resume Guide (Do it Yourself Resume Guide) to help you craft an ATS and Recruiter friendly resume. There used to be a time where a job application was enough, today, an ATS friendly resume leads all methods in landing a job interview. Now, let’s talk about acing that interview!
10 Tips on How to Ace a Job Interview
A job interview is part 2 of the job application process. An interview is where applicants that have met the minimum requirements are selected to discuss the job opportunity with the employer/ hiring manager. Interviews are generally conducted via telephone, in person, and or applications/technology such as Skype. When the interview is landed- these 10 tips will help you ace the job interview.
1. Going for a Job Opportunity That Speaks to Your Passion.
Having a passion for the job/ industry is extremely important. Doing something that aligns with inner passion is important for quality of life. People that have passion for the job that they are interviewing for generally have better interview experiences. When we talk about what we love, it is seen in our faces, our body language, and heard in our tone; here’s what Susan Biali Hass, M.D. has to say about finding your passion; in short, consideration of talents, discovering the things that make you happy and sad, and what you love losing yourself in.
2. Study the Job Description: Essential Job functions and Qualification Requirements.
Doing this will allow an interviewee the opportunity to develop examples of past and present experience that relate to the essential job functions and required qualifications. Examples of experience is always a plus for interviewers, painting a full picture goes a long way. Even when not asked for an example, it is always a plus to tie answers to interview questions to examples from your experience. If there is a portfolio (work samples: images, writing samples, published work, videos, awards, etc.) of work- that’s even better!
3. Research the Company and the Interviewer(s)
Being an employee means entering into a relationship with an employer. In many areas of life, research is done prior to committing; researching a company prior to an interview is no different. It is important to determine if the company is a good fit and therefore makes it easier to answer “why do you want to work here?”, it helps better verbalize how past experience, skills, and values align with the company’s mission, and it shows the interviewer that you are interested in more than just a job.
4. Think Positive and Tap into Confidence
Positivity exudes confidence and both are necessary so the employer knows that trust can be given. Thoughts lead to action, therefore, operating from a positive perspective will reveal confidence. The goal of the interview is to land the job offer; employers need to believe that you believe in yourself so that they can believe you. Here are a few tips for positive thinking.
5. Have Copies of the Resume Used to Apply for the Job
It’s always good to be ready for extra interviewers in the room; many interviews today are panel interviews/ multi-person interviews. Though a resume was likely submitted with the application, it is always a good idea to come with extra copies in anticipation of the potential need. If there was no resume submission, it is crucial that you provide a copy during the interview; doing this shows the employer preparedness and resolution to challenges.
6. Plan for Behavior Based Interview Questions
Most companies use preselected questions, oftentimes having a list of behavior-based questions. Usually these questions start with: “provide an example of”, “tell me about a time when”, and/or “describe a time/situation when”. Having examples of problems solved and strategies used, initiatives led, contributions to teams and departments, will help ace a job interview. Painting a picture to help employers see skills, qualifications, and experience is extremely important during a job interview.
Photo Credit: Bloomberg
7. Make a List of Selling Points
It’s important to be proactive about the selling points that you want to make in an interview. This is where a portfolio works great! It is a great idea to make a list of selling points that reaffirms and demonstrates skills, qualifications, and experience. Consider: awards, programs/ processes launched that led to cost savings and/or profitability, training/education, etc.
8. Showcase a Mixture of Personality and Professionalism
Companies like to make sure that interviewees are a good match for the company culture. Having a good balance of personality and professionalism during a job interview is key. Personality can be shown when discussing hobbies/ community service/ extracurricular activities in answers to behavior-based questions, when describing your passion, and when discussing selling points.
9. Have Your Questions Ready- Interviewing Isn’t One-Sided
Interviews are two-sided, like all relationships (an employee and employer agreement is a type of relationship). Before entering in many relationships, we all have a set of questions that we need answers to, prior to making the decision to commit. Beyond doing this for self (because asking questions helps reduce doubt and uncertainty), it also shows the employer that there is interest in the company and its future and shows that you are informed. Here are a few considerations: “can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”, “why is this position open?”, and “what qualifications/ skills are important to succeed in this role?”.
10. Follow-Up with a Thank You Note
Interviewers love gratitude. Sending a “thank you for taking the time to discuss the job opening with me”, is very important to acing an interview. Interviewers discuss one job opening with many applicants; a thank you note can serve as gratitude and the final chance to showcase selling points. This is also the opportunity to address any concerns that the interviewer may have had in the interview.
Consider a job interview a house; the foundation for acing a job interview is passion. The frame is a resume that lands the interview. The plumbing and electrical are showing up with confidence, providing a list of selling points, having examples of your experience and qualifications, and engaging the interviewer. The roof is showing gratitude with a thank you note.
This piece was originally written by Veronica Castillo, and published on Lifehack.org.