Got an Interview? Here’s How to Stand Out:
Interviews really wrack the nerves. But they don’t have to! A little preparation can give you the confidence you need to leave hiring managers with a good impression. They’ll remember you and forget everyone else.
But how should you prepare?
Your very first step should be to imagine the interview as a networking opportunity. What you’ve learned from us about networking generally applies to interviews. Specifically, think about your elevator promise, and think about your differentiators – the qualities that separate you from the other guy.
The trick with interviewing is marrying your networking knowledge with what you’re about to learn. In combination, the two are a recipe for success. But what else do you have to consider? What’s the interviewing secret ingredient?
Well, it’s not secret at all.
A successful interview is centered around two concepts. The first is, again, your networking knowledge. It’s worth repeating the importance of networking skills for an interview. Both interviewing and networking are about making a connection. But if you really want to crush an interview, there’s a second tool you’ll need. That tool is keywords.
What’s So Great About Keywords?
Keywords, as mentioned in a previous blog, are the terms and phrases that stick out to hiring managers – and their software. Structuring how you present yourself to employers around keywords ensures you are touching on the most important points, the points employers want and need from their employees. You get remembered, and you get the edge over your competitors.
In other words, keywords provide a framework for your interview and will help you to dynamically respond to the interviewer’s questions. You will come across more knowledgeable about the company and the job for which you’re interviewing. It sounds simple, but how exactly do you implement keywords?
Here are four tips on how to nail your interview with keywords.
4 Keyword Tips
1. Research Company and Industry Keywords
Much like the process of polishing your online profiles, researching keywords is important when preparing for an interview. You need to review the interviewing company’s website and social media. You’ll gain insight into the company’s culture, language and values. You can integrate this research into your brand promise. You can either add to your promise or highlight its most relevant aspects.
And when a job first catches your interest, be sure to scan its description for keywords. While the company’s website and social media provide information on where you’d be working, the job description describes what you’d be doing there. Each description is packed with the skills and experience employers need. These make great keywords.
With all this knowledge, all these keywords, you’ll be able to present your best self to the interviewer.
2. Stick to Your Selling Points – What Separates You From Everyone Else?
There’s so much about you that would impress any employer. However, you need to focus on the qualities that’ll help you meet your ultimate goal: getting a job. One of the best ways to meet this goal is by using your brand promise. Just like when you’re networking, use your brand promise as a memorable message that lets people know who you are and what you can do.
When you present yourself to an interviewer, cover the most important details, those that pertain to the specific position. Using your brand promise and the keywords you researched, develop three to five main selling points. If you structure the conversation around these points, you’ll sound organized and impress interviewers.
Bonus Tip: Use the STAR Method
One way of developing your selling points is the STAR method. STAR stands for: Situation, Task, Action and Result. These steps frame how you describe your accomplishments. This method shows you’ve proven yourself in the workplace. But don’t forget to base your information on keywords!
3. Ask Questions
The interviewer shouldn’t be the only one asking questions. When you ask questions, it shows your interest in the position. It shows you’re serious. Ask specific questions about the job. These questions should be uncovered as a result of the research you are doing and the keywords you are uncovering throughout the interview.
Additionally, ask about the company’s current projects and challenges. Questions not only show your interest, they give you an opportunity to tell the interviewer how you’ll add to the company and help address its challenges. This is the perfect time to discuss your brand promise and retread your selling points.
4. Say “Thank You”
One of the most important steps in networking is the follow-up. It’s the same with an interview. The two most important keywords for after the interview? “Thank you.” A memorable and genuine interview follow-up email leaves a lasting impression in the interviewer’s mind. If you’re really serious, send them a pen-and-paper letter. Whatever you send, make it personal!
How do you make it personal? Thank the interviewer for his or her time and for the opportunity. Include some details from the interview, including any keywords that piqued the interviewer’s interest or that you discovered during the interview.
For example, if you talked about a certain project, mention you’re eager to contribute to its success. If the interviewers face lit up when you mentioned a certain skill, say you look forward to putting that skill to good use. But it doesn’t have to be about business. If you talked about the interviewer’s family, wish them well.
Be gracious, and be sincere.
How Crucial Are Keywords?
By my analysis, pretty darn crucial. Keywords, however, aren’t an end-all. A keyword’s utility is as a framing device to present your best self and showcase your relevant skills. You, your skills, your experience and your personality are the real reason you’ll get hired.
Keywords help to polish your presentation, so you can further differentiate yourself. They pair well with all your networking tools and techniques. Keywords in combination with a strong brand promise and proven networking practices set you apart from the crowd. Who knows, they might just give you the advantage over your competitors you’ll need to get hired.
Getting hired takes a lot of work. No doubt about that. If you need more help with your job search, check out the BD-PRo blog. You’ll find helpful articles to guide you in how to market yourself more effectively through strategic networking. We earnestly hope these tips help you find success.
And, before I finish, here’s one last interview tip, with no words required: