Once you have a couple of interviews under your belt, you usually understand the basics: make sure to present yourself professionally, maintain eye contact, play up your strengths, etc. But it can take quite a while before you really take your interviewing game to the next level — after all, there’s a big difference between making a good impression and making a great one.
If you’ve hit an interview plateau and find yourself looking for some new tips to wow recruiters and hiring managers, try using the following tactics in your next interview, straight out of Glassdoor’s newly-released Ultimate Guide to Job Interviews.
1. Uncover Industry Secrets
Some of the things interviewers look for in candidates are nearly universal, like a strong work ethic and good attitude. But for other roles, the markers of success are a bit more industry-specific — technical recruiters looking for software engineers, for example, will likely want to make sure you have a solid understanding of data structures and algorithms. If you want to know exactly what recruiters and hiring managers in your industry are looking for, look into what books and resources are available to you. Those in technical fields, for example, swear by the book Cracking the Coding Interview, while potential consultants turn to books like Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting.
Whatever field you’re in, a quick Google search or informational interview with a currently-employed professional can uncover some great resources for you to dig into.
2. Research Your Interviewers
Once you’re far enough along in the interview process, you typically meet a number of different people who you would work with if selected for the job. In most cases, a recruiter will share a list of the names and titles of those folks beforehand. This is a huge gift, so don’t take it for granted! Look these people up on social media and Google to learn more about who they are, what they would do and how you would potentially work together.
Then, use that information to craft three to five thoughtful questions you can ask each of them, as well as craft some related talking points and anticipate what types of questions they might ask. The more you can demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, the more impressed they’ll be.
3. Shorten the Distance With Remote Interviewers
Building a personal connection with your interviewer is always important, but this is doubly true when you’re not there with them in person. Chatting with someone on the phone or via video chat can feel artificial and distant, so make sure to build a rapport early on. Try and unearth what you have in common: did you go to the same school? Grow up in the same state? Have a mutual LinkedIn question? Even if you can’t find any commonalities, interviewers will appreciate your interest — people usually like talking about themselves! Just make sure that the small talk doesn’t go on so long that it cuts into valuable interview time.
4. Learn to Deflect the Salary Question
Is there any question candidates dread more than “What are your salary expectations?” I think not. It’s easy for this question to throw you off guard, but flubbing the answer to this one can cost you big time (literally). Many people tend to respond to this question by stating a specific number or range, but this can lock you in. Instead, try to get the employer to share what range they have in mind first. Turn the question back around on them by asking “Well, what range do you have in mind?” or deflecting by saying something like “My top priority right now is to evaluate fit, but I’d be happy to talk about salary later in the process.”