Congratulations! You’ve made it to the next step of your job application process - the interview. A job interview is a vital step in getting that job offer and the best opportunity to show your value. Do you work well in a collaborative environment? Are you relationship driven? Are you a great problem solver?
At UWM, these are the types of qualities we look for in candidates and it’s important to demonstrate them during the interview while showcasing your talent, expertise and professionalism. And the best way to do that is to be well prepared. Here are 8 tips on how to ace your next interview:
Research Is Key
You can’t control the questions you will be asked during an interview, but you can control how well prepared you are to answer them. One of the best ways to get started is to research the company and the role you are applying for. This way, you’ll be able to share what you know about the company, why you want to work there, and why you believe you are the best candidate for the job.
Visit the company’s website to learn more about their culture, mission and values, news and recent events. Be sure to read the job description carefully as you will likely be asked specific questions pertaining to your qualifications for the role. These questions are typically asked at the beginning of the interview, and interviewers tend to make their decision on a candidate within the first 5 minutes – so this is your first opportunity to shine!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Not everything sounds exactly the way you say it in your head. It’s one thing to have the perfect mental answer, but it’s another challenge to be able to say it out loud smoothly and confidently on the first try. The last thing you want is to sound unsure of yourself during your interview.
Grab a friend or two, and rehearse telling them about yourself and your job experience over and over until you feel confident with your answers. Allow them to provide you with feedback to help you improve. Don’t forget about body language – it is also very important to keep good posture. This will help you look and sound confident and articulate in your interview!
Dress To Impress
Dress for the job you want. The way you present yourself in your interview tells the interviewer how valuable you view this opportunity. First impressions matter, and your interviewer will see you before they hear you, so be sure to be dressed in business professional clothing and don’t forget to smile!
Be Prepared For Common Interview Questions
Your interviewer will ask you behavioral questions to assess how you will handle common situations. This will also help them determine if you are a culture fit. As we’ve mentioned before, research is key, so prepare for these questions by applying the STAR method - situation, task, action and result.
Avoid putting anything on your resume that you cannot speak to. You will be asked questions based on your resume and they will want specific examples - such as a time you failed and how you handled it. Using the STAR method, begin by explaining the context of the situation before discussing your role, or task, in the example. Next, reflect on the actions you took to handle the challenge and the result of your initiative. It’s very important to demonstrate how you learned and grew from your mistake, so they know you are capable of continuous improvement.
Situation: I had recently been promoted and was leading a project for a major client. While the project would typically take about a month to complete, the client asked if I could have it ready in three weeks.
Task: Wanting to make an impression, I agreed. I then realized I'd need more time to finish it and deliver quality work.
Action: I immediately reached out to the client, apologized and asked for an extension. They generously agreed.
Result: I managed to finish the project and deliver it before the extended deadline. I also learned to manage my time better and never overpromise on something I can’t deliver.
It is likely that you will be asked why you would like to leave or have left your current or most recent position. Avoid speaking negatively about your recent leader or team. Doing this will only raise concerns about your character and the interviewer may shy away from moving you to the next round. Another thing to avoid during your interview is politics. While it has become more socially acceptable to share political beliefs and opinions, they should always be separated from a professional environment.
At the end of any interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Never say no. It will indicate that you are not interested in the company or the role you are applying for. Asking questions helps demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your seriousness about the position, and helps the interviewer visualize you in the role. Here are some great examples of questions you could ask to help show your interest:
- What could help me be successful in this role?
- What are some projects that I would be working on in this role?
- What does success look like in the first 30/60/90 days?
Be Sure To Stand Out
While doing your research, a great way to stand out from other candidates is to look into your interviewer’s background. All this takes is a simple LinkedIn search. This will help you relate to the interviewer, be more personable and give you more things to talk about!
But most importantly, be yourself! Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but don’t let your nerves get in the way of letting yourself shine. Be friendly, keep a good attitude, show your excitement about the opportunity, and again, don’t forget to smile!
Follow Up After Your Interview
Take a moment after your interview to follow up with a thank you note. In your email, show appreciation for the opportunity and mention something specific you learned about the position you applied for. This will help you stick in the mind of the interviewer!
While you may be perfectly qualified for the position you are applying for, you must be able to speak to your resume and present yourself as a viable candidate during the interview in order to get that job offer. It’s important to demonstrate your ability to learn, grow and be a team player. So prepare, practice and have confidence in yourself!
If you or someone you know is interested in joining our team, search our open positions here.