The first step in becoming an effective leader within an organization is  getting the job by nailing the interview.

Here are four tips to take your interviewing skills to the next level.

1. Have a “Winning” Elevator Pitch– An elevator pitch is a 30 or 60 second “commercial” job seekers use to sell themselves to potential employers. It is best to use an elevator pitch when an employer states “Tell me a little about you.”  You should be able to tell an employer in 30 to 60 seconds why they should hire you.  Elevator pitches can include your name, education, why you want a particular job, why you are qualified for a particular position and something you found interesting about the company. For example, “My name is Jane Smith. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management.  I have 8 years of staffing, managerial and training experience.  I am looking for an opportunity to further my career in Human Resources Management, and Shaver Staffing can offer that.  From my research, I learned your company increased its sales by 20 percent last year, and you donated over $50,000 to the St. Jude’s Research Hospital.  I am excited for the chance to work for such a successful and charitable company.” Keep in mind, there should be different variations of your elevator pitch.  Elevator pitches are not only used when interviewing, but also while networking.

2. Make Sure to Pre-PlanThe pre-planning process is just as important as the interview itself.  The pre-planning process involves researching the company, finding the appropriate “power suit” and compiling a list of questions for the interviewer.

Researching the company-When interviewing, researching the company that you are interviewing with is vital.  Try to learn the company’s motto and mission statement; you can use this as leverage during your interview.  HR professionals will be extremely impressed if you know their mission statement or motto.  Knowing the company’s services and products is also a must. I can’t count how many times I speak with clients who tell me they are not sure what the company does or are unaware of their services and products.  You are basically going into the interview blind.

Some other areas to research:

The company’s CEO

The head of the department you are applying for

Any company accolades or awards

Any controversies or negative press

You may want to visit websites that are designated for company reviews.  These reviews are typically provided by current and former employees.  Glassdoor is a great resource for company reviews.

Finding the appropriate “power suit”- A “power suit” is an outfit you wear to an interview that says “I am ready for this interview”. “I want this job”.  Your “power suit” should be neutral colors such as blue, black or gray.

Below are other interview appearance tips.

Natural looking makeup
Close toe shoes
Small earrings
Conservative hairstyles (no “loud” colors)
One ring *typically wedding ring
No visible tattoos
Kempt hair

Compiling a list of questions-You should always have a list of questions for the employer. Example questions include:

Why is this position open?

What is a typical work day for someone in this position?

What is the organizational culture?

3. Refer back to the job description-HR professionals place job opening advertisements on a regular.  These advertisements can include job descriptions, job duties, required qualifications, brief company background and salary range.  Not only do these items give you insight into the company’s background and what they are expecting, they can also be helpful on an interview.  For example, if asked “why are you a great candidate for this position?”, don’t give traditional answers such as “I am dedicated, driven and a hard worker”, or “I have the experience and skills to succeed in this position”.  Instead try saying “I know from your advertisement you are looking for someone with management experience, I have 4 years of managerial experience coaching a team of 10+.  In addition, your job posting stated the ideal candidate must be proficient in Excel. I am certified in Microsoft Office Suite, including Excel and have even conducted Excel trainings in my current position.  For these reasons, I feel I am exactly what you are looking for and am the perfect candidate for this position.”

4.Relax!!- This may seem obvious and simple, but it is not always as easy as it seems.   Remember, an interview should be a conversation.  If you approach it as such, the interview process will seem a lot less stressful.  HR professionals are trained in emotional intelligence and can sense nervousness and anxiety; additionally, they can sense confidence and excitement.

These are just a few tips to help you nail your next interview.

For more information about interviewing, resume writing or career development, please contact us.