Megan Crawford, HTYC Career Coach
Megan has been a career coach since 2015, and before that worked in corporate recruiting for over 12 years conducting thousands of interviews.
on this episode
We get questions from clients and podcast listeners often that sound something like this… “How do I stand out in an interview?” or “What do hiring managers really want to know in the interview?” But these are the wrong questions to be asking.
Do you want just want to stand out just to get a job? Or are you wanting to dig in and make sure this move is intentional and it’s the right fit for you?
Interviews are a 2-way street, and the first interview is the foundation for setting up the future of your work there. So the true question is “How do I show up as myself in an interview?” Because you don’t know what they are going to ask, but there are things you can do to prepare.
Showing up as yourself is the best way for you and the interviewer to truly gauge if you are a right fit for the job, and if the job is the right fit for you. We often get distracted with trying to sell ourselves in interviews. The mental gymnastics of trying to predict what the interviewer is going to say and having the “right” answer ready are exhausting.
We can’t get into the brains of a hiring manager, but you can show up as yourself and show up with confidence, and here are some specific interview tips on how to do just that:
Know yourself and know what you want
If you want to be yourself in your new role, then you have to be yourself in an interview!
Knowing and understanding who you are and the thread that goes through your career story is going to give you the ability to answer any question. By knowing yourself and your career, you can easily link your experience and strengths to the job description when asked about it
What does it mean to truly know yourself going into an interview? A great starting point is where you know and can articulate your strengths, wants, needs and any gaps in your background. If there are any interview questions that you hope they don’t ask, be extra prepared to answer those truthfully.question you wouI know and can articulate
The point of the interview is not to prove you fit into “the box” of the job description. The best headspace to be in when you walk into an interview is with the idea that you’re not going in there to try to fit into a role, you’re going in to test this out and see if it would be a good fit.
Don’t be performative: Think of it more as a conversation
We have a natural inclination to be liked, and show how we’ve been successful, but this inclination does not always lead to the most productive conversations in an interview.
The interview is not the place to be performative! It’s the place to know and play where you do best, and when evidence proves this would not be the place for you, then shutting it down in a nice way.
Prepare for an interview as if you’re the interviewer. An interview is a 2-way street, you need to get answers for yourself. Don’t think of questions as an afterthought. Before you go into the interview, think about what you want to know about the company and the role and write them down.
Instead of saying what you think they want to hear, answer truthfully and then ask them something you would like to know.
You can turn questions back to them. An example of this would be “You’re asking a lot of questions about data/analytics, is that the main thing you’re looking for in this role?”
Practice telling your career story
Your career story is the variable in the interview that you can control, and you should be an expert when it comes to sharing your story!
If you know your career story in and out, you’re going to be able to answer any question you’re asked.
Practicing telling it is like preparing for public speaking, you have to practice the words! Whether you’re practicing with a career coach or even just recording yourself on your phone and listening back to it, practicing will always help you get more comfortable.
Be yourself and make sure the job fits you, not the other way around. There’s no way to know what a hiring manager will want to know in an interview, but this doesn’t mean you can’t prepare.
Know how to talk about yourself (authentically!), where your strengths lie, and what you’re looking for in your next role.
Don’t be performative. You’re not selling yourself to the interviewer, you’re having a conversation so they can get to know you, and you can learn more about the role and the company. Interviewing is a 2-way street, come prepared with questions of your own.
Practice telling your story. You may think you know everything about yourself, but saying it outloud is entirely different. Make sure you are clear, concise and are hitting on your experiences and strengths that really matter to you.
Being yourself takes the pressure off and turns the interview into a conversation so both sides are able to evaluate if this is the right fit.
Interested in learning more? Listen to the episode above where HTYC career coach, Megan Crawford, shares her interview tips and insights from her combination of 20 years of experience in recruiting and coaching
What you’ll learn
- Interview tips on how to embrace authenticity for success
- How to expertly prepare for an interview
- How to be yourself in an interview and have a genuine conversation with the hiring manager
The role is meeting my expectations… totally owning the marketing function. And luckily the founder/president is always forward-looking – he just presented us a huge strategy doc for the next year. So there will be an opportunity for us to grow beyond our initial audience, which is great. I applied (against conventional wisdom!) and went through a lengthy interview process. I did use the resume/cover letter chapter quite a bit to customize what I used to respond to the ad. I also found that using the Interview chapter was super helpful in formulating “SBO” oriented responses, and I even used some of them in the interview. Having those “case study” type responses was really helpful and I believe cemented my candidacy. BTW – they hired me completely over Skype and phone! I never met anyone from my company (in person) until last week at a conference.
It turned out to be the best fit possible they had all the tools and all the resources. It helped me to approach the job search in a completely different way. It allowed me to put myself out there in a vulnerable way (even in the interviews) and it allowed me to get exactly what I wanted.
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