Interviewing can be one of the most intimidating things we have to do as job seekers. The pressure of feeling like one must “prove themselves” can shake even the most confident applicant.
As a recruiter, I like to get my candidates to remember that an interview is your opportunity to prove your interviewer right. There’s a reason you’re sitting in a chair across from a hiring manager, and it’s because they think you can do the job. With the following three tips, and keeping this information in mind, you can significantly impact the impression that you leave with a hiring manager for the better.
Remember the CAR method
When answering any behavioral interview question (which is any question that starts with “tell me about a time when…”) the CAR method is a sure-fire way to accurately and succinctly answer your interviewer.
What is the CAR method? Context: what is the context of the issue that you are talking about? Be brief here, but give some background. Action: How did you tackle the issue? Result: What was the outcome of your actions?
Example Question: “Tell me about a time when you were assigned multiple projects and had to prioritize them and finish them all within a deadline.”
Example Answer: “When I worked at ABC Company, I managed as many as 10 projects at a time. In this past year, I was assigned three high priority projects that had to all be completed within a week. (context) Once I received these assignments, I met with my supervisor to establish priority for all three of these projects and got approval to bring in another teammate to assist me with the tight deadline (action), and together we managed to get all three projects completed on deadline (result).”
When in doubt, always tell the truth. There’s a lot of advice out there about skirting questions like “what’s your biggest weakness?” in order to look good. However, companies are listening for these tactics, and wouldn’t it be a better idea to be honest about your shortcomings?
Your future employer deserves to know about your weak points, just like you deserve to know about any supervising challenges may be present on your team and the dynamics of your future work-place. It also assists your future supervisor to choose teammates with appropriately disparate skills, so that the entire team is strong together.
Ask a LOT of questions, and have them prepared ahead of time. Jot down specific questions pertaining to the position during your interview, but come prepared with questions that you ask every employer. Asking the same questions will help you gather data and compare your opportunities in such a way that will be much more revealing.
I suggest spending at least 10-15 minutes asking my interviewer about what it’s like to work with them, with their boss, and with the company at large. Some questions I always ask:
- What has the turnover on your team been like? Why have people left?
- What is the day to day like in this position? What is your favorite thing about it? What do you wish would change about the position?
- Did you hold this job before your current position? What has kept you on this team?
- What is your supervisory style (if this is the Hiring Manager)?
- What will the training for this position look like?
- What metrics do you hold your employees in this position to? What does a rock star in this position look like to you?
- What would you ask if you were sitting in my shoes? Am I missing anything?
Using the CAR method, honesty and curiosity, you will present yourself as a well-researched candidate who is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, an interview is nothing more than two people (or three or four) exchanging information about themselves, and hopefully beginning a relationship that will grow into a new opportunity for everyone.