Heyyyyy Sistas! Happy It’s almost May which means summer is around the corner! As many college students prepare to graduate and enter the workplace and many other professionals scout out their next big move, I couldn’t help but reflect on some HORRIFYING interviews I’ve seen and experienced as both a candidate and interviewer for this month’s post.
The number of dumpster fire for an interview I have seen cannot be stressed enough in this post. Seriously. Because of this, I have chosen 5 areas of focus to prevent all of you from the same CRASH and BURN fate of those I’ve crossed paths with.
In my experience, people always say prepare for a job interview but never tell you how. These 5 easy to remember concepts will prepare you to excel thus making you stand out against candidates displaying a lack of awareness in their job search process.
Five Strategies For #Winning In Your Next Interview
Do your research
Many candidates enter into interviews having done minimal research on the company they are interested in. Doing your research can allow for you as a candidate to learn more than what’s on the surface and to show this off in the interview. Not only are YOU being interviewed but you are interviewing the company. The more you know, the more you’re prepared to ask the right questions and to make sure you will be comfortable in your environment should you take on the position. Not only should you look on their website for information but look and see if they are in the news for any stories (good and bad), check their social media to see what they have going on and what the perception others have as it relates to the company’s image. Let’s face it, TRUST that these companies have done their research on you, it doesn’t hurt for you to return the favor.
ALWAYS have insightful questions to have at the end of an interview
I said it above and I’ll say it again: remember you are interviewing the company as well. When conducting your research, write questions that will allow recruiters or company representatives to clarify for you. This is also a chance to dig deeper into areas you would like to receive more information on. Try to stay away from the typical cliché questions such as “Why do you like working here?” This is also a time where you want to make sure you do not ask questions that could have been answered if you simply did your homework and researched the company. Check out these strategies for asking solid interview questions.
Make a Statement+ Ask a Question
Make a Statement: Bring up something from your research about the company
E.g. “I saw in a press release that you all have launched a new initiative about____”
Pose a Question
E.g. “Could you provide me with more information about how this is being implemented, and if given the job what my direct role would be in the process?”
When it comes time for you to ask a question, use this formula to creatively ask insightful questions by placing the statement and question(s) together. This is a subtle way to show you have done your research but it also shows that you are interested in the things they currently have going on and want to know how you will fit into the plan.
Be okay with silence
When asked a question, do not always feel like you have to answer RIGHT AWAY. As someone who has interviewed many of people, I can always tell when someone is bulls**
Lemme write this one more time for the people in the back:
You. Do. Not. Have. To. Open. Your. Mouth. Immediately.
As someone who has interviewed many a people, I can always tell when someone is bulls**tting me. The worse is when you know the candidate is qualified because you’ve looked at their résumé and social media stalked them, but when they get to the interview, the answers to the questions are rushed and not well thought out. Taking a pause is okay. When you take your time, you show that you’re willing to think before you speak (this makes you less of a liability at any company/ organization) and that you can prepare to answer the question in its entirety.
Make sure to send a follow-up handwritten thank you card or email.
After the interview, always send a follow-up thank you note to the interviewers. It’s okay to make it personal by bringing up things you discussed during small-talk or by including something that particular interviewer shared during your interview. What I like to do is ask the interviewers during my time for questions “If you could describe your experience in three words, what would they be?” I use those words in the thank you card and underline them for “special” attention. Sending a thank you card is an unspoken etiquette rule during interviews. Not sending one could, unfortunately, cost you the job if other candidates are interviewing for the same job, decide to do a follow-up. As unfair as it may seem, always remember there is a human on the other side of the table.
P.S. Don’t send one email to multiple people. Take time to personalize them enough in case those interviewing you trade notes!
5.It’s Ok To Be Your Most Authentic Professional Self
When people ask me what is one thing that you like about your job, I always explain to them that I can be myself. I say what I feel and mean EXACTLY what I say. During my job search, I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable enough to be ME in my work environment. Sometimes we feel like we have to put on white-skin and dabble in whiteness as property in order to appeal to an interviewer. I can say I was guilty of that until I realized that no matter what, I was still a Black woman in their eyes, no matter how much I enunciated my words. Honestly, I was tired of frontin’. Either you will accept these degreed thoughts
( and hands, cause I’m about that life) or I can take my talents elsewhere.I am BLACK. I am a WOMAN. I am LOUD. I am everything your people wish to be. I don’t know how to be anything other than me and trying to be anything else is doing myself an injustice.
As you prepare for your next interview, keep these things in mind. I’ll be back next month with advice on how NOT to play yourself in an interview. Think, Interviewing: Don’t Play Yourself. I have stories for days, let’s make sure you’re not the next one.
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