January 29, 2020

Back To Basics: Tips to Nail A Final Job Interview

by Scott Thompson

Your goal for every interview is simple. Walk out of the room visualizing a mic drop and thinking to yourself Nailed It! These ‘Back to Basics’ tips are great strategies for the final interview.  This is the big meeting you’ve been waiting for, so whether it’s one-on-one, a group Skype or a panel interview you’ve got it.  Good luck and go get it!

Prepare to Be Nervous

Plan on being anxious. If you don’t, you will be ill equipped to handle the jitters that rush in once you walk in the door.  Here are easy ways to overcome your nerves:

  • Bring a pen and paper. Write down the interviewer’s name.
  • Take notes and jot down questions as the conversation flows. This solves the problem of answering So, what questions do you have for us? at the end.
  • Ask for a bottle of water. Surely the company has a mini fridge to offer guests refreshments!

Do Your Research

Research two issues before the interview.

  1. The company. Look at their website and start to form questions around observations and curiosities you have about their business’ history, staff, vision, performance, expansion, values, philosophy, and competitors.
  2. The hiring manager(s). Research the panelists on social media and LinkedIn.  Google their name. Find press releases and industry articles about their career. Look for connection points between their story and yours. 

Keep It Simple

Your answers must be short and concise. They talked forever is the #1 reason employers reject candidates after a final interview.

  • Avoid yes and no answers but be mindful of your time.
  • Repeat the question back with a simple opening statement like I think what I hear you saying or asking is this……..
  • Keep your answer to two minutes or less. Give hiring managers time to ask a follow up question.

Gather Contact Info to Send Thank Yous

This is a lost art that will set you apart from other candidates. Employers should but usually don’t offer their business card.  Before you leave, ask for their card or contact information.  Send a thank you email before the end of the day. Keep it simple.  It is the thought that counts. 

Get the Hiring Managers Talking

Take the question Do you have any questions for us? as an opportunity for the hiring managers to reveal their thoughts and feelings. I’m going to tell you a secret: people love talking about themselves. Here are a couple easy but highly effective questions:

  • Why do you like working for this company?
  • Tell me about your management style.
  • Why are you excited to make this hire?

Name Drop Your References

Preparedness sets you apart from other candidates.

  • Bring five copies of your resume (more if there are more hiring managers).
  • Offer copies at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Name drop your references throughout the interview. Relate those people back to questions about your training, mentoring, career progression, and foundation for success.   

Concise Resumes = Concise Interviews

A resume is a billboard, an advertisement with 4-6 seconds of impact. Hiring managers rarely care about your job 15 years ago. These three things should be the focus of your resume and interview answers.

  1. Recent Success
  2. Relevance to the Job Opening
  3. Future Goals, Objectives, & Capabilities

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