Some interview questions are seemingly harmless like "Tell me about yourself" or "Why do you want this job?" Others are bizarre such as "If you were to get rid of one state in the USA, which one would it be and why?"
When you don't know the answer, your heart will skip a beat. We interviewed Joshua Waldman, a job search expert and author of the best selling book, Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, on how to tackle the job interview.
For any interview, Waldman tells us that there are three questions the interviewer is trying to answer:
- Who are you?
- Can you do the job?
- Are you motivated?
The interview is not just about your qualifications. It's also about your personality. That is, do they like you? To develop rapport, Waldman tells us that it's important to know who you are first. Figure out your strengths. Personality tests can help, like the MAPP test or one my favorite personality test books, The Career Within You.
The other part of revealing who you are is to establish rapport with the interviewer. Waldman told us the story of a job candidate in Atlanta, GA who sent a Tweet to a hiring manager. Along with the Tweet, he designed a magazine cover with his face. The interviewer later shared that the candidate's initiative and creativity helped. It not only demonstrated the candidate's character, but it developed a relationship. Many people don't realize this, but the relationship happens before the interview.
To demonstrate that you can do the job, it's important to understand the job first. What are their needs? To get a better sense of their needs, visit the interviewer's LinkedIn profile, review their recent Tweets, and read their blog post or corporate website. From there, determine what are the three most important things you want them to remember about you. Make sure your strengths synchronize with their needs. And lastly, be rigorous and specific in your answers. It's something that Mr. Waldman picked up when he met Marty Nemko, a top Bay Area career coach who also hosts a weekly NPR radio show.
To show your motivation, prepare, prepare, prepare. That's the #1 mistake candidates make before their interview. For example, take the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with people who work at the company. Ask them, what kind of questions should I expect? The more you know about the company, the products, and the people -- the more passionate and motivated you will appear.
Lastly, Waldman has the following tip, from the guy who wrote the book on job searching with social media: 95% of recruiters used LinkedIn to find candidates, so fine tune your LinkedIn profile.