Congratulations! You just scored an interview for your dream position. What’s on your preparation checklist?
- Date, time, and location — check.
- Proper attire — check.
- Position/company research — check.
Good to go, right?
If you really want to maximize your impact in interviews, you need to think more strategically about what you say and how you say it.
Here are four strategies that will help you get the most out of your next big interview:
1. Package your achievements conceptually
One of the ways you can increase your impact in interviews is by packaging your achievements conceptually instead of chronologically.
When you are asked about your background and your achievements, don’t start from the beginning of your career and work your way to the present. You’re not giving a history lesson.
Instead, hit on a few major themes and discuss your background in terms of those themes. For example, talk about major changes you implemented, then move on to revenue growth, and so on. What you did is much more important than when you did it.
2. Talk about results, not process
Another one of the ways you can increase your impact in interviews is by emphasizing the results of your accomplishments rather than the processes you used to achieve them.
For example, talk about how you implemented a process change that reduced inventory costs by X and reduced cycle time by Y — instead of, “I engineered an inventory management system that allowed us to reconfigure our process flow so that raw materials could be loaded automatically and then passed through a high-speed belt…”
This isn’t math class; you don’t need to show your work.
3. Provide examples, not generalities
You can also increase your impact in interviews is by giving concrete examples of your values.
For example, rather than saying that you support innovation, frame it this way: “When Jack came to me with this idea, I not only encouraged him but gave him a budget and a mandate. Today, that innovation has paid back the investment five fold.”
Don’t speak in vague platitudes — give specifics that provide real insights into your leadership style.
4. Establish your optimal energy level
Finally, make sure you pay close attention to your energy level. When the interview begins, you want to connect by matching the energy level of the interviewer.
For example, if they are vibrant and enthusiastic, don’t be reserved and somber. But as the interview progresses, shift your energy to a level that allows you to get into a groove, stay relaxed, and project confidence.
When you prepare for your next critical interview, don’t just think about cosmetics and clothes. By using these four strategies, you can make a significant impact that will give you an edge over your competition.