Here’s a little-known secret to job interviews:
By controlling the job interview process, you’ll have a much higher chance of securing the job – and career – you want .
First, remind yourself that the company invited you for a reason, otherwise they wouldn’t bother wasting their time. So walk in with the confidence of knowing they already like your experience. Because it’s not your skills but your attitude that determines the success of your interview.
Yes, you qualify. But do they?
Next, don’t wait until they start asking you questions! Instead, learn how to take control of the interview. How do you do that? It starts the moment you introduce yourself and say, “Hello”.
Step 1: Take control of the interview process by asking questions first
The first 15 minutes of your interview will decide whether you succeed or fail. So it’s important to learn as much about the company and what your future employer wants, right from the start.
The moment you shake hands you should start by asking them:
- How long have you been here?
- What do you like about the company?
- What’s the culture like here?
- Why is this position open?
- What are you looking for?
- What are the best qualities you’re looking for in a candidate?
If those questions sound like the kind of questions the interviewer might ask you, that’s because they are.
Step 2: Feed the answers back to them
By now, you will have learned what they want BEFORE they had the chance to ask you the usual questions like “so, tell me about yourself“.
But if they still do that, answer with something like “what aspect of me would you like to know more of?” Keep your answers no longer than 30 seconds. No need to bore the interviewer or shoot yourself in the foot with unnecessary or potentially damaging information.
Then, when the interviewer does start to formally interview you, this is your opportunity to use the same sound bites they used in describing their perfect candidate to you (hint: because they already told you).
Step 3: Create deeper rapport
Beyond the position, it’s your job to develop a deeper rapport and make sure there’s a good fit for you as well as for them.
Interviewer: “it’s important to me that the candidate is resourceful, proactive and independent so that I don’t have to hold his hand all the time.”
You: “I totally see what you mean. It’s really important to be proactive and explore different solutions independently so a person can progress on their own.”
And just like that, you’ve created rapport. But you should take it further to explore why it’s important to them and how you agree or disagree with their thought process.
The bottom line is that the interview process is 80% about liking the candidate and having good rapport. So if you can get this step right, you’re well on your way to securing that job.
Step 4: “Trick” them into imagining they hired you already
Since you now have rapport with the interviewer, it’s time to get them to imagine having hired you already. You do that by asking them questions about the future.
Memorize this job rule: The more you talk about the future, the more likely you will succeed in securing the position. The more you talk about the past, the more likely you are to fail.
This sounds counter-intuitive but remember, your history and experience is already qualified for the job. So why waste this time? Focus on the future.
Here’s some examples:
“Who would I be working with?”
“What would the first 6 months look like?”
And here’s the most important question you can ask: “I’m curious – what do you see me doing day to day from the first time I walk through that door over there?”
Because when they answer that question they have to imagine you in the position to do it. And they’ll mentally walk themselves through a scenario where you’re doing the day to day tasks – which is exactly what you want!
Step 5: Challenge them a little to get more
Now that you’re in a great position to get that job you need to go even further. This is where you get to push back a bit and see how they might respond. But start small.
Here’s an example:
“I’ve worked with several companies. And recently I’ve been interviewing with a number of companies. And I’ve learned enough along the way to know what I’m looking for. I believe from personal experience that no matter how great the position, title or company, it’s more important for me to work with people that I’m really comfortable with. Not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. That’s why even though we’re having a great interview right now, I need to make sure I feel comfortable with the entire group and everyone I’ll be working with. So before I come on board I’d like to know if I can meet the entire group. Because that’s very important to me. Is that okay with you?”
In this example, all you’re doing is asking them a question about the people you’ll be working with. But hidden in this question is a subtle qualifier for them to meet and live up to.
They’re usually pleasantly surprised and react as most people would, “Of course we have a very nice team here and we understand if you want to meet the other people in our department”. And by this point, most will be willing to showing you around and meet your potential co-workers right away or at the end of the interview.
This does a few things. Not only is this a test to see if they like you, but it’s also a good test for you to see if you’ll like them too. And bonus: it’ll probably get the whole office talking about you after you leave. :-)
And that’s it. The perfect job interview in 5 steps!