Top 10 secrets to win every job interviews

Tag: ProductManager365, InterviewTips: Top 10 secrets to win every job interviews There’s much more in the book demonstrating that, on ave...

Tag: ProductManager365, InterviewTips: Top 10 secrets to win every job interviews

There’s much more in the book demonstrating that, on average, we’re pretty crummy at assessing candidates. I write about how to get better. And how at Google we’ve applied 100 years of science to radically upgrade the quality of our assessments (still not perfect, though!).

But if you’re a job seeker (and who isn’t?), the fact that most of us don’t know how to interview well is a huge opportunity. Because that weakness lets you control the encounter. It lets you win. Here’s how:


1. Predict the future.

You can anticipate 90% of the interview questions you’re going to get. Three of them are listed above, but it’s an easy list to generate. “Why do you want this job?” “What’s a tough problem you’ve solved?” If you can’t think of any, Google “most common interview questions.” Write down the top 20 questions you think you’ll get.

2. Do your homework

Finally, do research on your interviewer on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.

The goal is NOT to stalk them or memorize everything they’ve ever done. Instead, it’s to learn:

• Their background (What schools did they go to? What clubs have they been a part of?)
• Their position with the company (Are they in a new role? Were they recently promoted?)
• Common interests you both share (Are they into volunteer work, sports, hobbies, etc?)

With these details, you can spark deeper discussions and stand out by subtly bringing them up during the interview — you’ll position yourself as someone who goes the extra mile, who’s proactive, and who cares. What’s the result?

A great job offer.

Once you’ve taken these steps to go deep into your interviewer’s mind, it’s time for final interview preparations and practicing how to answer tough interview questions.

3. Have a backup plan.

Actually, for every question, write down THREE answers. Why three? You need to have a different, equally good answer for every question because the first interviewer might not like your story. You want the next interviewer to hear a different story. That way they can become your advocate.

3. Prove yourself.

Every question should be answered with a story that proves you can do what you’re being asked about. “How do you lead?” should be answered with “I’m a collaborative/decisive/whatever leader. Let me tell you about the time I ….” Always tell a story or have facts to prove you are what you say you are. More on how to construct and tell these stories in a future article.

4. Read the room.

All that brainpower you’re not using to desperately come up with answers to questions? Look around. Focus on the interviewer. In the first 10 seconds, is there anything in their office, or about them, you can notice and use to forge a connection? A book on a shelf? A family photo? A painting? Read the interviewer: is their body language open or closed? Are they tired and should you try to pep them up? Do they like your answer or should you veer in another direction?

5. Make it to Carnegie Hall.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Same goes for getting a job. When I was in my second year of business school, I practiced my interview answers -- out loud -- until I could tell each story smoothly, without thinking about it (but not so smoothly that I was bored with the re-telling). My roommate walked in one day to find me sitting on the futon reciting why I thought I was a great leader again and again. He figured I was stuck in some kind of Stuart Smalley-like self-help loop. But I got 7 job offers from 5 companies (that’s another story) and was on track to get another 6 before I stopped interviewing. How is that possible? Practice.

6. Plan your attack.

For EVERY question, write down your answer. Yes, it’s a pain to actually write something. It’s hard and frustrating. But it makes it stick in your brain. That’s important. You want your answers to be automatic. You don’t want to have to think about your answers during an interview. Why not? Keep reading.

7. Hack the interviewer’s state of mind

To prepare for your interview, think about what the interviewer is looking for.

Most candidates, however, only think about themselves — they get so wrapped up in their own thoughts, concerns, and abilities (aka “the I, I, I syndrome”) and forget what the interviewer actually wants in the perfect candidate.

Instead of focusing on ourselves, take a minute to ask yourself:

• What’s their state of mind?
• What are they looking for?
• What does the ideal candidate look like and say in their eyes?

Then, dig deeper and control the conversation by using three tricks to hack into the interviewer’s mind.

8. Interviewers have jobs, too

“Well duh,” you might say. “How is THAT important?”

Because they want to get back to work!

Interviewers don’t want to waste their day talking to boring candidates; they want to check the box that says, “Hired,” and get back to work to finish their own projects.

By understanding this reality, you can transform the entire feel of the conversation.

• Instead of seeing it as an interrogation, you’ll sound like a friend who’s just asking if you can help
• Instead of putting them on a pedestal, you’ll see them as a future colleague
• Instead of spending the entire time talking, you’ll turn the interview into a dialogue and mix in some questions

Remember: they’re looking to hire someone and really want you to succeed because it’s in their best interest.

9.  It’s not just your skills

What do potential employers really want when they bring you in for an interview?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not “experience.”

If they were looking for the most experienced person, they could simply read resumes and test people.

But interviews don’t ONLY assess your skills: They also gauge your behavior.

Understanding this gives you a huge advantage because you can prepare by considering the following things:

• What are the behaviors and personality traits that this position requires? For example: salespeople are friendly and personable
• What type of language would someone in this role understand and use? For example: do you know what Ruby on Rails means? SEO? ROI?
• What nonverbal cues do I want to send before I even walk into the room?  For example: How does someone in this position dress? Suit? Dress? Polos?
When used correctly, you can use these cues to instantly and subtly signal to the interviewer that you are a high-value candidate and vastly improve your chances of receiving an offer every time.

10. Network

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It sounds rough but I really do believe it and I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing. Maybe they aren’t mutually exclusive so I will soften it a bit and reword it to “knowledge may be power, but relationships are the fuel.” Take advantage of professional networking events, connect with your peers and faculty, seek help from your career services department, attend a job fair, and ask your friends and via an email blast (another tip from Timothy Ferriss in “The Four Hour Workweek”).

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