Goliath’s ‘Master the Interview’ series is a 5-part playbook of tips and best practices enabling job seekers to stand out in all interviewing formats – over the phone, in a one-on-one setting or in a group interview.
Your on-site interview starts in fifteen minutes.
As you put the car in park in front of this unfamiliar office, just think of how far you’ve come:
- Your polished resume stood out from the crowd.
- The phone interview has the hiring manager wanting to meet you in person.
- You’ve come toting your resume, notes about the company and a leave-behind for the interviewer(s).
It’s been a long, slow marathon and now it’s time to sprint through the finish line with a lights out on-site interview with your future boss.
It is time to take a deep breath, be prideful about how much you have done and to one-up the competition with interview responses that go farther than the standard – in our words, “+1 statements.”
Tip #1: Know answers to common questions “+ 1”.
In some ways, you already know a few questions that might kick off the interview:
“Tell us about yourself.”
“Why should we hire you?”
While we’d encourage you to devise a clear, quick response to each of the above standard interview questions, that isn’t enough.
Candidates should go one step beyond – answering this standard question in two steps: (1) a quick standard response that answers the questions as normal, followed by (2) a statement that makes the interviewer take notice.
This can be done simply.
Interviewer: “Tell me about yourself, John.”
John’s standard reply: “I’ve been in the project management field for almost 15 years and have successfully managed budgets and client-facing decisions along the way.”
John’s +1 statement: “That experience matters and will, no doubt, allow me to hit the ground running in this role.”
The statement is short, direct and helps the interviewer visualize your direct fit for their job opportunity.
Tip #2: Show technical expertise “+1”
In this industry, technical mastery for most job postings is required. And, while your resume could outline your accomplishments, putting your knowledge on display during an on-site interview is powerful.
When a technical question comes up it is important to answer thoughtfully and in a matter-of-fact manner that shows confidence and adequate knowledge.
Again, that’s not all – our “+1 suggestion” for answering a technical question is to create a situation that the interviewer can relate to.
Interviewer: “John, how do you manage a client that has an unrealistic deadline?”
John’s standard reply: “Clients are demanding on every project and tight deadlines are part of most jobs I’ve completed. Developing a great rapport and having open communication with them is the first step.”
John’s +1 statement: “In fact, in preparing for our interview today, I saw that your company is involved in the downtown multi-family project. If, for example, I thought the client’s deadline was too aggressive on that project, I’d start by making sure I understood how missing the deadline could impact their potential renters.”
This “+1 statement” brings a concrete example that the interview can relate to while showing that you’ve done your homework in advance of the interview.
Tip #3: Know when to zip it “+ 1”
“Your candidate just talked too much – it was hard to following him at times.”
We hear this feedback from hiring managers often.
So, during your interview, plan to be focused, concise and comfortable zipping it when you feel your responses rambling or the interviewer losing interest.
The Wall Street Journal provides several tips – two, in our opinion, is simple and helpful:
- Watch the interviewer’s body language for signs they are bored.
- Make sure you understand the questions by stopping frequently to check.
Going one step further, our “+1 statement” for zipping it encourages you to mix in open-ended questions for your interviewer throughout – not waiting until the end. Doing so engages them in the discussion and gives you time to regroup and rest.
A “+1 statement” here might be as simple as, “Now that you understand how I might handle that situation, have you seen a similar circumstance here previously? How was it successfully handled?”
There will be a lot to think about before, during and after the on-site interview. But, don’t forget how far you’ve come.
An on-site interview is a great opportunity that you have earned through an arduous process.
Working to craft your own “+1 statements” ensures a sprint across the finish line.
Need help with an upcoming interview? Contact the Goliath team today.