How to Highlight Your Skills During a Job Interview and Other Interview Tips

How to Highlight Your Skills During a Job Interview and Other Interview Tips

Congratulations! You have passed through the first couple of hurdles in the job search process and you have landed an interview. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, convincing the interviewer that you not only have the hard skills and soft skills to do the job but also that you will be someone who fits in with the overall company culture and values.

Interviewers will already have some idea of your background from your resume and cover letter, but in the interview, they will want to get to know your capabilities and experience in more detail. They will typically ask you questions about your experience and may also ask you hypothetical questions like how you would handle a certain type of situation or self-assessment questions like what you consider to be your worst attribute. Below are some job interview tips to help you present yourself in the best way possible.

Preparing for an Interview Tips

To make the best impression, some preparation is necessary. Rather than go into the interview cold, review the job description and research the company ahead of time. First, take a look at the job description and make note of the required skills that you already possess. Be ready to relate these skills to specific accomplishments and responsibilities you had at previous employers and jot down some notes for yourself so that they will be top of mind if the interviewer asks you about them.

The next step in your job interview prep is to go on the company’s website. Look for areas in which they are expanding or focusing on as well as any challenges they are currently experiencing. These are great topics of conversation for the interview, especially when you relate how your skills and experience can help in those areas.

If you know someone who works for the employer already, talk to that person to get insights about the company culture and interviewing process. You can drop the name of your contact in the interview to show that you have some connection to and knowledge about the company.

Now that you have done your research, it is time to prepare what you are going to say. Of course, there is no way to anticipate everything an interviewer might ask you, but you can prepare a narrative of a particular task you did at a previous job.

Looking at your resume, there may be one or two accomplishments that really jump out. These are a good basis for a short story you can tell during the interview.  In the process of telling this story, you will be able to highlight a variety of skills as well as a positive outcome. Best practice is to use the STAR method to make sure that you include all of the relevant details:

  • S is for situation – Describe the situation or challenge
  • T is for task – Discuss what needed to be done and your role in doing it
  • A is for action – Explain exactly what steps you took to accomplish the goal
  • R is for result – State the result of your actions, being specific and quantified

When talking about the action you took, be sure to explain your reasoning. This gives the interviewer insight into your thought process and shows your decision-making and critical thinking skills.

Questions to Ask a Talent Acquisition Manager

There comes a time in the interview when the interview will ask if you have any questions. To make the best impression, it is best to have a few questions prepared. Having questions demonstrates that you are curious, interested in the company and are prepared. Here are some ideas for questions to ask hiring manager:

  • Questions about the job
    • What does a typical day look like?
    • What qualities does someone need to have to be really successful in this position?
    • What budget would I be working with?
  • Questions about training and development
    • What training will I need to go through for this position?
    • Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
    • What training programs are available to your employees?
  • Questions about performance
    • What are the performance expectations for this position in the first 12 months?
    • What is the performance review process like here?
    • What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
  • Questions about the interviewer
    • How long have you been with the company?
    • What’s your favorite part of working here?
  • Questions about the company
    • Where do you see the company in the next few years?
    • What are the current goals that the company is focused on?
  • Questions about the team
    • Can you tell me about the team I would be working with?
    • Who will be my direct report?
    • Do you expect to hire more people in this department in the next six months?
  • Questions about the culture
    • How would you describe the work environment here?
    • What is different about working here than anywhere else you have worked?
    • How has the company changed since you joined?
  • Questions about next steps
    • What are the next steps in the interview process?
    • Is there anything else I can provide you that would be helpful?
    • What your timeframe for filling this position?

Best Things to Wear to an Interview

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, you should wear professional dress to an interview.  This means:

  • For men, a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie or a sweater and button-down.
  • For women, a blouse and dress pants or dress skirt or a statement dress.

Avoid wearing anything too bright or bold patterns that may distract from your qualifications and personality.

Virtual Job Interviews

Many employers utilize a phone interview before offering you an in-person or virtual interview. This is to narrow down the candidates.  Here are some phone interview tips:

  • Take it as seriously as an in-person interview and do your prep ahead of time
  • Focus and eliminate distractions
  • Listen to the interviewer and do not dominate the conversation
  • Take your time and do not talk fast out of nervousness or excitement
  • Have your resume and a copy of the job description on your desk as a cheat sheet
  • Send a thank you note by email after it is finished

Especially in the age of COVID, virtual job interviews are becoming more common. These share a lot in common with in-person interviews, but there are some key differences. Here are some best practices for Zoom interviews:

  • Test your technology ahead of time (your Internet connection, web camera and audio as well as any software like Zoom or Webex)
  • Check your background and minimize distractions – In your technology pre-check, look at the room behind you and make sure that it is neat, uncluttered and not otherwise embarrassing
  • Look at the camera – While it is natural to look at the image of the interviewer’s face on your screen, looking at the camera at least half of the time will help you create rapport with the interviewer
  • Watch your body language – Remember, the interviewer can see you, so sit up straight, smile and nod while the interviewer is talking.

By Admin