By Kate Baumgartner
Interviews can be awkward – for both the interviewee and the interviewer. I’ve never been a cookie-cutter recruiter, and as a candidate, you shouldn’t feel as though you need to fit a mold, either. Creative staffing solutions, innovation, growth, and opportunity create “right-fit” matches that satisfy both you and your employer-to-be. In that vein, here are not-so-traditional tips designed to give you an interviewing edge.
Rambling isn’t the answer to awkward silences.
When asked open-ended questions, answer concisely and honestly, and then be quiet. My trick is to bring a water bottle with me. I take a sip when I finish an answer or during that awkward silence. It helps the moment pass and allows me to collect my thoughts.
Do your research and bring questions.
Every interview includes, “Do you have any questions for us?” To prepare, look up the company’s mission statement and their annual letter to investors, and dig into upper management on LinkedIn. Base your questions on that fact-finding mission. If you still come up empty, craft questions that are thoughtful and demonstrate that you did your research – even if you already know the answers.
Iron your clothes and make sure they fit.
A wrinkle-free T-shirt with some well-fitting jeans will serve you much better than a crumpled dress shirt or poorly-fitted pants or skirt. Granted, dress clothes always read that you respect the interview, but make sure you look tidy or it’s all for naught. In addition, ensure that your grooming is on point. Finally, avoid wearing perfume or cologne, as it bothers many people in a professional setting. You’re on an interview, not a date.
Don’t walk into an interview with a bias.
Generational, social, and gender differences in the workplace are real, but don’t become a statistic by walking into an interview feeling defeated because your interviewer doesn’t mirror you or your experiences.
Focus on the right fit.
In the end, job interviews tend to go well when the interviewer can see that you are legitimately trying to figure out if you are a good fit for the company and vice versa. People will overlook shortcomings in job “requirements” as long as you fit the company’s personality and genuinely want to succeed at that role. This is called culture fit, and it is incredibly important.