By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager.
Big4.com recently put out a call for experts to share their thoughts on best practices to navigate the interview process. Alexa Merschel, PwC US Campus Recruiting Leader, answered the bell with a series of excellent points printed below.
“An interview is a job seeker’s chance to express their interest through questions and observations. Both the organization and the job seeker should feel like they are making the best choice. For that reason, the interview is just as much an opportunity for you to learn about the organization as it is for the organization to learn about you.
In order to stand out in the competitive job market and impress hiring managers during an interview, follow these 10 key tips.
- Do your research. The interviewer will expect you to know something about their industry, what they do, and the job description of the position you are interviewing for. It is beneficial
for you to learn about the nature of the organization, its people and environment, and the details of the job before your interview. Is it a place you can grow and develop to meet your goals? Is it a place you will want to go every day?
- Prepare questions for the interviewer. An interview is a reciprocal exchange of information, so employers will expect you to ask some questions. This is your chance to learn important information about the opportunity so you can make an informed decision. And it is also a way to make a good impression by showing the interviewer you care enough to learn about their company.
- Dress for success. What you wear sends a message about who you are. It is a component of the first impression you make on others, so it’s worth it to take your wardrobe choices seriously. The people you’re meeting with will try to envision you in the job you’re interviewing for, so make sure what you choose fits the culture and adds a little extra professional polish.
- First impressions matter. Do not let attire, body language or attitude hold you back. This is your chance to showcase your best self and personal brand. Engage in eye contact, hold a firm handshake and remember to smile. This shows you are engaged, confident and welcoming – all desirable traits for a new employee.
- Be authentic. It is important to remember to be authentic in your interactions so you can make sure that the organization you are pursuing is a good fit for you. The only way to make a real connection with people is to remain relaxed and be yourself. Make sure your answers contain a clear message and are relevant and compelling.
- Identify your passion. Genuine passion is attractive and demonstrates traits like commitment, being well rounded and enthusiastic. Recruiters look for passion because it is the quality that drives people to arrive at work with energy and enthusiasm.
- Storytelling works. When possible engage prospective employers by telling a story that illustrates who you are as a person, which is more interesting than just listing things you have done. Talk about some of your accomplishments that showcase your best professional qualities.
- Think “STAR.” STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Prepare at least one solid, go-to example of a situation, task, action and result to share during your interview. This type of concrete example of a specific situation will provide recruiters with evidence to support why you’re right for the job.
- End with a bang. Do not hesitate to step up during the interview in order to stand out. Share your unique passions, strengths and weaknesses with the interviewer. The power of a personal story will convey who you are and what’s important to you, making you a memorable prospective hire.
- Give thanks. A thank you letter is another opportunity to remind recruiters how special you are. Write a thank you that leaves an impression, and get it out within 24 hours of the interview. This will show that you are prepared and will also help solidify your name in the mind of the person or people who interviewed you.
While preparing to enter a job interview can seem overwhelming, PwC launched CareerAdvisor to help job seekers reach their career goals. CareerAdvisor is a customizable tool comprised of four areas, each which includes activities, articles, videos, tips and tools to give users an advantage in the job market. CareerAdvisor is designed to help all job seekers discover who they are, where they want to go, what they want to do, and more importantly, how they can get there – no matter what their career pursuits may be. Feel free to check out CareerAdvisor here.”