How to Give a Killer Interview

By Tamiera Vandegrift on October 19, 2017

From the plethora of applications and resumes that have flooded your desktop and digital inbox, a select few remain ready and prepared for the next stage: the interview. By now, your job interview is probably a vague and distant memory now that you’re sitting on the other side of the table.

Perhaps you’re even more nervous than you were as a potential employee. How will you sell your company or position to this individual? How can you get a complete reading of a person in less than an hour? What questions should you ask to gauge and engage them? First, take a breath. We’ve got you.

Keep reading to learn how you can give an absolutely killer interview.

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Be prepared

Just as your applicants will probably be searching your company’s website and digging up every professional “how to” article known to Internet-kind, you should be equally invested and engaged in your applicants. After a while, the white space and Times New Roman-esque shapes might begin to form a Rorschach Test, but you must power through. This information is valuable because it will serve as the foundation of your interview questions. Yeah, remember those generic questions that other recruiters resort to? Throw those away (well, most of them).

First, think long and hard about what you want in an applicant. Should they be independent, or a team player? Should they have a ton of experience already or would you rather the position be a learning experience for them too? While you’re thinking about this, begin to organize your applicants into separate sections according to the attributes they seem to have in common based off of their experiences, skills, and other conclusions you have drawn from their resumes.

Once this is done, begin to draft general questions for each group about their roles and experiences of interest. Your applicants will take note of how much time and effort you put into getting to know them, rather than just entertaining the idea of an interview with a list of questions you printed out that morning. By knowing a little bit about each candidate personally, you have already established rapport and the interview is far from over.

Be real

With interviews, we seem to adopt this need to put on this persona of inhuman perfection, with perfectly glued hair and bleached smiles plastered on our polished faces. While appearances are important and a good indication of how serious a person is about a position and how well a person can carry themselves, job interviews should be a time to genuinely get to know a person, not an archetype. After all, you might be sharing close quarters with this person. Wouldn’t you like to know the real individual that you’ll be working 9-5 with, not the model individual you spoke with for 15 minutes?

Be professional, but don’t forget to be human in the process. Contact your applicant ahead of time, informing them of how to dress, what questions you plan to ask, and so on. Make a joke in the beginning of the interview to break the ice and lessen the tension. Be friendly and open to your applicant. Remember, if you can, how nervous you were when you were in their position. Try to think of what your interviewer could have done for you to ease your anxiety and make the interview less horrible. Doing this will make your interviewing skills stand out and even if the applicant isn’t hired, they will still remember what a good interview felt like.

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Be knowledgeable

Does your company’s website or hiring advertisement give a good description of your company’s goals, culture, and expectations? If not, you will be expected to fill in the blanks, even if your applicants don’t necessarily ask outright. You want to excite your applicant! You want them to be interested in the position and eager to get to know their coworkers.

Talk about your favorite parts of the position as if you were telling a friend about your job. Describe the responsibilities of the position in detail so that there are no surprises later on. Before you step into the interview room, make sure that you’re ready to answer any question completely on your own, with a smile!

Be creative

Just because an interview is a professional affair doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with it. When you’re drafting questions, feel free to add some questions that are far from the beaten path. Ask your applicant what they would bring to a deserted island, what color they would use to describe their personality, or how they would prepare their perfect meal. There is no limitation to the creativity you can utilize when conducting an interview.

At first, these types of questions might seem completely pointless and out of place, but really think about it. These questions go way beyond the generic ones and they can be very indicative of the type of person you’re speaking with. For instance, if someone chooses blue as their personality color, that might be their way of indicating that they are more relaxed and Type B or if they choose orange, they might be more energized and active. Some creativity in the interviewing process can make a huge difference in getting to know someone, the real someone.

Be available

This is something that cannot be stressed enough. Your applicant has probably applied to many other positions and they have lives of their own too. Nothing is more frustrating or hurtful than a recruiter that suddenly ghosts on you. If your applicants have questions or concerns, do your best to answer them in a timely manner. Send a kind, but firm, message when you decide to cut applicants from the hiring process. Whatever you do, don’t leave applicants hanging. It’s just not nice and after all, they could be relaying this information to their best friends, who could be some of your most valuable employees.

When it comes to being a great interviewer, it truly boils down to one thing: be yourself. There’s nothing greater than that!

By Tamiera Vandegrift

Uloop Writer
Florida State University
Tamiera is an alumna of Florida State University, having earned a BA in Editing, Writing & Media and a BA in Digital Media Production. Tamiera is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, inspired by the works of Lars von Trier, David Fincher, and Darren Aronofsky. Tamiera has previously written for the FSView and Florida Flambeau, College Magazine, and more. She has recently published a creative thesis containing short stories based on mental illnesses in the media. In the future, Tamiera aspires to win "Best Original Screenplay" or "Best Picture" at the Academy Awards with one of her film projects. Besides writing and storytelling, Tamiera enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with friends, and geeking out over movie trivia.

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