So, you’ve landed a job interview at a company that you’d love to work for. You’ve probably thought about what you’ll wear, and printed out extra copies of your resume to bring along just in case. But once you’re seated in front of your interviewer, what will you ask? Will you remember the job experiences that you wanted to highlight?
Here are four things you probably never thought to do during an interview that will not only be impressive, but will take the pressure off, allowing you to nail your interview and secure your dream job!
1) Take Notes During The Interview
During my years of going on interviews, I always wondered why the interviewer was the only one taking notes. So it got me thinking: If an interviewer can take notes during an interview, and even bring along a list of smart questions to ask their candidates, then why can’t I?
In doing so, I found that the amount of pressure during the interviewing process was greatly reduced. Deciding which position to take, when offered, became much easier because I had structured notes, not memories to go off of.
As the interviewer is speaking to you and asking you questions, jot down important key words. Something may be mentioned about the job or company that you’ll want to address later, and it will be easier for you to reference it if it’s in front of you.
By taking notes, you’re able to focus on answering the interviewer’s questions versus trying to compartmentalize your thoughts to remember key points during and after an interview.
If the interviewer doesn’t have a business card, be sure to write down their name, title and email address in order to follow up with them after your interview.
2) Type your questions out and bring them with you
Before I ventured off into career coaching full-time, I began to put my expensive portfolio to use. Of course, it still carried extra copies of my resume, but it also included thoughtful questions that I had prepared in advance to ask about the company and the role I was interviewing for.
After reviewing the company, the position and the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, type out the questions you want to ask, and bring a printed copy with you. Be sure to leave enough space to write the answers you’re given.
When you’re prompted to ask questions, you won’t forget them, because you’ll have them with you. Not to mention, coming in with a list of questions sends the message that you’re thorough and prepared.
When the interviewers respond to your question, capture key highlights from their responses, and be sure to make note of who said what. This comes in handy when writing follow-up emails, as well as when evaluating a company to make a final decision on which position to accept.
3) Write down the key experiences you’ve had at your past job positions
In order to properly prepare for a job interview, you must take the job requirements and map them back to your experience. As you go through this process, take notes in the S.T.A.R. (Situation. Task. Action. Result.) format
Don’t write paragraphs. Instead, aim to capture one to three words next to each point for ease of reference.
This will come in handy during the interviewing process, since you’re being evaluated on how your background ties into the role’s expectations. Instead of relying on your ability to remember every project you’ve worked on in detail, you can quickly glance at your notes and speak in a clear and concise manner.
I’ve done this on several interviews, and it made communication much easier. It served as a guide to my thought process, and even revealed certain points I had almost overlooked. In the end, I was more focused and engaged in discussing my past performance because I had something to spark my memory.
4) Ask ‘relevant’ questions throughout the interview
You do not have to wait until the end of an interview to ask questions! Treat the interview as a conversation. Think of it as a tennis match. Questions go back and forth. The goal should be to keep the conversation active and moving.
This is the perfect compliment to the previous point of typing your questions out ahead of time. As long as you have a guide, you can pick and choose which questions to ask, and when.
This also demonstrates your interest in the position and will reflect positively on your interpersonal skills.
Instead of showing up with a portfolio full of resumes, show up with a bit more, and put it to good use! You’re under enough pressure to make an impression, why make things harder on yourself?