How to succeed in an interview. 14 tips that work.
1. Print the job description and highlight the keywords. This is the anchor of the process, not what you think of the job, not what you want to make of the job. This is the written outline of what and who the company is looking for.
2. Rewrite your CV to surface experiences and qualities required for the job based on that job description.
3. Update your LinkedIn to match your CV and cover letter. Consistency is key. Keep it clean and precise.
4. Write an honest and personalized cover letter. Copy and paste is tempting but in the long run it surely won't save you anytime as it won’t land you any interview. Start by asking yourself why do you want this particular job, why would you be good for it, why would this be a good match. The letter should address these three questions and match the job's requirements.
- Paragraph 1: Compelling Intro that states clearly your reasons for applying
- Paragraph 2: your professional experience in the context of this job offer
- Paragraph 3: you as a professional and your personal qualities,
- Paragraph 4: closing paragraph.
5. Research the company and the team, read their blog to make sure you understand and use their jargon in face to face.
6. Write up all the conversations topics that may come up and prepare for them. Pick out the more important points from the job description, and self-assess how your experience would qualify you for the job both professionally and personally. Also identify the possible gaps in your profile and come up with solutions to mitigate these. The key is to be very proactive in your research and to have an answer for all topics.
7. Rehearse aloud the key questions that will for sure come up. I personally make revisions cards and self-assess on the following:
- Why are you applying to this job?
- What is it that attracts you about this job?
- Why applying to our company?
- What similar (projects, products, cases, experiences, IT skills, education) have you had that could contribute to this role?
- Tell us about yourself. Can you run us through your CV?
The right outfit
8. Pick an appropriate outfit for the environment that you apply to, and that still feels authentic to who you are. I personally work in tech and arriving in a suit and heels would probably set me up for clear cultural mismatch. Vice versa if you are applying for a corporate role, jeans and flats probably won't do. As a general rule though – and I have myself interviewed and hired people, do restrict from wearing anything sexy and provocative. You are not there to seduce (unless this is your line of work, obvs!). Sadly if you are being interviewed by a woman you might have to tone it down even further. I can attest that women tend to be the harshest judges. I prefer a bare neat look that won't interfere with what I have to say. I feel my best with chic flats that feel casual yet look professional, dark jeans or chinos, a smart printed top paired with a well-cut navy blazer. I wear very limited jewellery and do not bring in my most expensive bags. Again think of the image you want to send and that this well could be the first impression your future boss and colleagues will have of you.
Here are casual and more corporate examples of chic, smart looks.
9. Arrive 10min to 5min early, NOT earlier, NOT later. No one likes keen nor sloppy.
10. Prepare 3 questions to them, good ones are: what excites you for the year to come? what are the challenges you see arising in the coming quarter? What growth do you foresee for this role in 2 years?
11. Try to enjoy. For having interviewed people myself, I know that no one wants to have an awkward time, and both parties are trying to actually find a good fit. As much as you can get over your nerves, smile, listen and take it as a conversation, not an exam.
12. Have some of the housekeeping questions ready: salary expectations, possible starting date, references. These usually come later in the process around interview #3 but could also be asked right away to rule out candidates, so make sure you have an understanding of your legitimate market value.
13. If the interview went well, and you see yourself working with the team, send a thank you note to your contact. Keep it short, you might want to develop shortly on a point brought up in the interview to bring the interaction to a more personal level but don’t overdo it, this can either help your case or really back-fire. Better not to rush that one and either wait for the end of working day or the next morning.
14. Be patient. Sometimes silence is better than a NO. Don't overwhelm your contacts with emails, show you are professional and stay put. If it's meant for you, it will get to you.
What are your tips to succeed at jobs application? Hit us in the comments section !