Interview Best Practices

By March 22, 2019Interviews

The interview process can be overwhelming. It always helps to know there’s someone who’s got your back: your ARG recruiter. If you’re nervous about your upcoming interview, think of your Applied Resource Group recruiter as your interviewing coach–give him or her a call a day or two before your interview to help get your head in the game. Or, if you just need a little refresher on the interview process, here is our resource for some fail-safe plays around which you can build your interview strategy, step-by-step…

Step One: Start (And End) With Positivity

Keep energy, gratitude, and enthusiasm at the forefront of your mind during the entire interview. But, the most important times to show your (natural) positivity is at the very beginning and the end. Make sure the employer knows you are thankful for their time and for the opportunity to speak with them. Sustain your interest and excitement throughout the interview and thank the person again at the end. Maintaining positivity (while making sure it appears to come naturally to you, even if it doesn’t) will not only project a warm first impression, but it will also keep you feeling confident and at the top of your game.

Step Two: Take Strategic Notes

Take an active part in the interview process and listen carefully when the employer fills you in on their company, the project, the specific open role, etc. Probably right after the introductions, they will dive into the skills they are seeking in the person they hire: TAKE NOTES. If they don’t give you any additional information on the role, company, or project, ask them, “What are the most important skills you are looking for in the person you hire?” If you have these notes written down, you will be able to tailor some of your responses to exactly what they are looking for.

Step Three: Show Them You’re the MVP

Give them an “executive summary” of your experience. Show them how your unique professional experience is exactly what they require to meet their particular needs. To prepare for this, write out a one minute summary (yes, you actually should to time it) of the skills you possess that match the job description and rehearse it out loud ahead of time. Now, this is the part where your strategic notes from earlier in the interview come into play: do your best to tailor your executive summary to match or respond to the needs/wants/required skills they listed earlier. If what they want doesn’t exactly match the summary you prepared for, adapt your summary to match their needs as much as you can.

Step Four: Detailed Overview

At this point, you may be asked for some more details, which means you’ll need your resume right there in front of you.  Be ready to provide examples about what you did, how you did it, and why you did it–emphasis on how all that you did helped your previous clients/employers. There’s no detail too small, but again, REHEARSE. Practice (out loud) describing the aspects of experience that match the job description. For example, make flashcards, record yourself rehearsing your answers…whatever it takes to feel confident.This may seem strange, but just go with it!

Step Five: Prepare for Any (Technical) Questions

Study up on the technology the employer has the greatest focus on or need for. Know the most important technical fundamentals: “What should a truly competent person have to know to be effective in this role?” Another rule of thumb is to simply Google “[insert technology here] AND interview questions” to get ideas for questions to ask. If this doesn’t do the trick or you just want to go the extra mile, find a certification book or two that covers the technical skills necessary for the role and study the five most important concepts in each chapter. Even after all the studying, if you get a question from the interviewer that you don’t know the answer to, just say: “I’m not 100% sure on that, but here is my best guess right now…” Show them that you’re adaptable, willing to learn, and willing to serve their clients needs even if you don’t immediately know the answer.

Step Six: Ask Your Own Questions  

Write out three or four questions–you guessed it–prepared ahead of time. Some solid examples to start with are, “What would be expected of me on a day to day basis?”  “What would I need to do to be successful?” or “Who would I be working with?” Employers appreciate a candidate who asks questions and takes initiative!

Step Seven: Ask for the Opportunity

Now that you’ve established that the interviewer should have confidence in you, show that you have confidence in yourself and say something to the effect of: “Based on what you’re looking for, and based on the skills I bring to the table, I feel I can meet and even exceed your expectations. I believe I can do an exceptional job for you on this project and I just want to let you know that I am very interested and excited about this opportunity.”  You may even add: “I am available to begin work (immediately/1 week/2 weeks, etc.) after accepting a formal offer, should you select me.” Being able to start immediately is the optimal situation, but either way, they will appreciate the enthusiasm and confidence.

Step Eight: Appreciation

End on a positive note: thank the client again for the opportunity!