Congratulations! After applying to numerous jobs, you finally made it to the next stage in the hiring process. You landed an interview for a position you are excited about, and you adequately prepared by researching the company and reviewing your experience.
Despite how prepared and professionally dressed you are, an interview marks your first in-person interaction with your potential employer. It is important to make a lasting impression, and it is even more important that you make an impression that sets you apart from the rest.
Something that even the most well-prepared candidates cannot always anticipate is all the curveball questions the interviewer will likely ask. There are just too many potential interview questions to adequately prepare for all the possibilities.
So, how do you prepare for the unpredictable? The trick is to remain confident in your body language and tone while focusing on establishing a connection with the interviewer. That connection is what will make you stand out from the other candidates.
Using the tips below, you will see that there are still methods you can use to boost your confidence pre-interview and to better prepare yourself to overcome an unpredictable situation while making a positive and memorable impression on your potential employer.
Boosting Your Confidence: Three Tips to Remember During an Interview
Preparation is merely the first key. Knowing the history and vision of the company you are interviewing to work for is necessary to comprehend your potential role. However, it is only half of the challenge. Execution is the second key and equally important to interview success. In addition to the typical interview dialogue, interviewers ask unpredictable questions to get genuine responses from candidates while establishing an honest rapport. You can improve your ability to perform in interviews while making a lasting impression on the interviewer by remembering these tips.
Tip 1: Focus on Your Body Language and Breath
Shirt buttoned up? Check. Phone turned off? Check. Extra resumes in hand? Check. The time for your interview has come, and you have reviewed your preparation checklist twice. Now, all that is left is execution. Interviews can be held in various spaces from personal offices to conference rooms. Once you have entered the room and greeted the interviewer with a smile and firm handshake, it is important to get comfortable.
Find a position that allows you to sit up straight and maintain direct eye contact with the interviewer. Maintaining confident yet unassuming body language allows both the candidate and interviewer to focus on the interaction rather than being distracted by fidgety, nervous gestures. Keep facial expressions and hand gestures positive but subtle as overdoing it can be distracting and come across as disingenuous or unprofessional.
If you find your nerves or anxiety getting the best of you in an interview, it is a common practice to take a few seconds to compose yourself and to gather and organize your thoughts before responding to an interviewer’s questions. Although confidence is significant, interviews can be stressful and intimidating situations, and your interviewer will be aware of this.
If your interviewer asks a curveball question that you did not specifically prepare an answer for, your immediate response may be to panic. Taking a three-count breath, in and out, is a form of quick meditation that combats panic. By focusing on your breathing, you can bring yourself back to the task at hand, utilizing your experiences to answer the question to the best of your ability and executing a memorable interview.
Tip 2: Turn Your Challenges into Success Stories
Interviewers use curveball questions to see how candidates perform in unpredictable situations and to avoid hearing the common responses candidates prepare for typical interview questions. Whereas focusing on breathing is helpful when dealing with stress, focusing on your personal experiences is helpful when providing the interviewer with unique responses that will make you stand apart from other candidates.
Answer Curveball Questions with Stories
The curveball questions asked in interviews are usually worded in a way that provides candidates with opportunities to tell the interviewer something personal about themselves. Rather than allowing these questions to throw you off, as the term curveball questions would suggest, you should look at them as a chance to tell the interviewer a personal story that will make you stand out as a great candidate.
For example, the interviewer could ask why you deserve the position over someone with more relevant experience and higher education. Instead of being thrown off by the intimidating nature of the question, use the opportunity to tell the interviewer about a personal experience that you have had when you persevered by performing beyond people’s expectations.
Go Beyond the Information on Your Resume
Most questions in interviews, typical or not, set you up to tell the interviewer why you are a good candidate for the job. Instead of simply reiterating the information laid out on your resume, build on it. Make answers more memorable by going beyond the interviewer’s expectations for an answer based on what they have already seen on your resume.
If an interviewer asks what you like most about the position you are applying for, do more than repeat the skills and responsibilities listed on your resume. Instead, tell them about what inspires you to pursue work in that industry or even what motivates you to work in your everyday life such as your goals. Showing your dedication to the position is certainly more memorable than simply providing evidence from your resume.
Tip 3: Ask the Key Question at The End of The Interview
For better or for worse, the interview has come to an end. You can tell because the interviewer usually turns the table on the candidate by asking, “Do you have any questions for me?”
Ask the Interviewer Questions
Should you have questions for the interviewer? Yes, asking questions shows your preparation and your interest in the position. What questions should you ask? Well, you applied for the job because it piqued your interest for several reasons. List them. They could be the responsibilities, the industry, the potential growth or the company’s mission, among several other characteristics of the job.
Use this list to consider what your career can gain from the position and then ask questions that show the interviewer your genuine interest. A candidate who wants to work for a company to gain entry-level experience in their field might ask the interviewer more about the day to day responsibilities of the role or about how the responsibilities will grow in one year or five years down the line.
Ask the Key Question
You can have a general sense about how the interview went, but it is not always clear what the interviewer is thinking. Take this opportunity to ask a curveball question of your own to help you get a genuine sense of where the interviewer’s head is at. Ask, “After learning more about how my experiences meet your needs, do you have any reservations about hiring me for this position?”
By asking this question, you are giving yourself a chance to address any reservations the interviewer may have about hiring you. If you said something concerning responding to a curveball question, the interviewer may bring it up, giving you another opportunity to put their concerns to rest. You are also showing reinforced interest in the job, making an impression that is sure to last long after you leave the interview.