Interviews: The difference between “crushing it” and being crushed

Coveting that dream job?  Preparation is key.  Here are four tips to crush your next job interview.

“You’re hired!”  These are the two words every college student wants most to hear. Landing the right job after graduation can make all the difference in your career; but even the most polished resume, carefully crafted cover letter, well-connected LinkedIn network and sharpest JCrew blazer aren’t enough to get you there—unless you can sell yourself in person.  Here are four tips to help you crush your next interview.

Prepare Your Pitch
Preparation is key to your interview.  Everyone knows that it’s important to be on time and dress professionally—but it’s just as important to prepare your content as it is to prepare your appearance.

Professor Leslie Kawai, who teaches business communications at BYU’s Marriott School of Business, counsels students to know their personal elevator pitch.  “When you get in the elevator with someone, you should be able to tell them your name and three distinctive traits of yours,” she says.  “For example, you should be able to say, ‘My name is so and so, and I possess x, y, and z traits.’”   The ability to pitch yourself quickly and distinctively helps employers get an idea of who you are and remember your characteristics.

Get Psyched Up, Not Psyched Out
Another technique Kawai teaches her students is the exercise of “power poses,” a psychological technique coined by social psychologist Amy Cuddy at the TEDGlobal 2012 conference.  In Cuddy’s TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes who you are,” Cuddy teaches that standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident, can boost feelings of power and impact your chance for success.  Posing with your arms up and shoulders back, even for thirty seconds, can boost your feelings of confidence.  Combine this powerful technique with positive words of encouragement and affirmation to psych yourself up for the interview!  Mental enthusiasm radiates outward. 

Edit Your Social Media Presence
Polishing your online presence is another form of overlooked preparation.  Keith Lue, Internship & Career Services Coordinator in the School of Communications, says that managing your personal brand online is critical.  “Most employers would check your social media before they would ever invite you to interview,” he said.

Students often don’t realize how much power their social profiles have in the eyes of employers and recruiters.  Examine your social profiles—what kind of message does your Twitter feed send to your potential boss?   Consider trading in your party photos to reflect a more professional online presence.  A simple headshot in your profile picture will make a much better first impression than a photo of you at a party or even a stock photo.  Double check your privacy settings and look through your profiles with a critical eye to ensure that employers see you as someone who could potentially fit into their organization.

Do Your Homework
A well-prepared interviewee won’t only answer questions, but will also research information about the organization ahead of time to have questions to ask.

Shannon Baird, a senior in BYU’s public relations program, said, “Every time I interview I try to ask a lot of questions to show my genuine interest in the company. One of my favorite questions to ask is if the person interviewing me enjoys working for that company and would recommend it to others. It always catches the interviewer off guard and puts me at a more personal level with him or her.”  Careful research helps you formulate great questions.

Researching the company in advance will also help you go the second mile.  If you research the organization thoroughly, you can identify problems within the organization that you are equipped to solve. Your findings will show the employer that you care about the organization, you take the initiative and that you’re a problem-solver.  By investing time into the organization even before you interview, you’ll put yourself ahead of the other candidates for the position.

At the end of the day, preparation pays off.  A good interview validates everything on your resume, so let yourself shine!

After all, you’re so much more than a piece of paper.  Go get that job.

Written by Lindsey Trendler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *