The following post is by guest blogger and Choices TV host, Berna Anat. For more epic life advice, check out her website.
Would you believe me if I said I had one follow-up question that’ll basically guarantee you the job? Or that the way you sit could be the reason they hire you? Check out the video below with my best tried-and-true interview advice, and read on for even more tips.
There are so many more excellent tips I’d love to share so you can use them to crush your next interview! These next few couldn’t fit into our vid, but are just as important as a killer thank-you card. (You did send one, didn’t you?!)
Sit Up Straight — and at the Edge of your Chair
This might sound funny, but it’s totally foolproof. A former boss of mine swore by it, and this boss was not easy to impress. She would always say that someone who kicked back in the chair with bad posture looked disrespectful and too comfortable — but someone who sat straight up, tush parked right at the edge of the chair, looked eager, alert and hungry for the job.
This makes you look ready for battle, like you could jump into the position right that second — and it has definitely worked to keep me on my toes for those curveball questions.
Find Your Band Camp Stories
There are a few questions that every interviewer will always ask, in some shape or form — like what your strengths and weaknesses are, or how you excelled through a negative experience. Take a second to jot down your best “Band Camp” stories — that is, the moments in your life that best exemplify your strongest qualities. (Minus the “This one time…” opener, please!)
Sit down and brainstorm:
- TWO times you absolutely crushed something
- Why did you win your last award at school or a previous job?
- Have you ever completed a project with someone that was difficult to work with, or nailed an assignment even though it went horribly wrong?
- What aspects of your personality or work ethic contributed to this success?
- What’s the one thing you wish you could brag about?
- TWO times when you failed at something and learned from it
- What worked out along the way, and what didn’t? What was the ultimate problem, and how did you respond?
- What weaknesses did you recognize in yourself? How have you worked to improve on them?
- What lesson did you learn? Have you applied that lesson anywhere else?
We can blab all we want about our ability to multi-task, but the only way an interviewer can know you’re not blowin’ smoke is if you give them solid examples of when you kicked butt. Gather as many details as possible, and keep them in your back pocket — they’ll be way easier to recall when the right question comes along (and it will!).
The Golden Question
I got my favorite tip from a colleague whose previous job was to interview hundreds of candidates for his company. Let’s say you’re nearing the home stretch of the interview. You’ve asked your two pre-thought questions — or maybe you’ve run out of time and are almost headed out the door. Whatever you do, do not leave without asking what I call the Golden Question:
Is there anything about me or my experience that
would make you hesitate to hire me?
I know, I know — it’s a mouthful, but 100% worth memorizing. There are two great things about this question:
1. It gives the interviewer a chance to mention anything they’ve held back about you as a candidate (For example, they might say: “I’m not so sure about your experience as the Justin Bieber Fan Club President…”)
2. It gives you a chance to completely clear the air and fight for your spot (You might reply, “I see that experience as a lesson in problem-solving!”)
I’ve always been met with pleasant looks of surprise when I ask this question — what always follows is a super-honest conversation where you can impress them with your self-awareness and maturity. This question is about giving the employer zero excuses to dismiss you as a candidate, and showing them you’ll stop at nothing for it. After asking this, you’ll know for a fact that you put your absolute best foot forward — and so, you come out lookin’ Golden!