How to be your best in an interview – 4 tips they don’t tell you

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There is no shortage of advice out there telling us how to ace an interview. This blog post will surprise you with what employers are actually looking for.

Recently, experts in the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business conducted an interesting experiment entitled: “Interviewing: The Fine Line Between Self-Confidence and Arrogance.”

After their analysis was complete, they found one key conclusion: “Candidates conveying poise and presence have an edge over those boasting about their abilities and being too assertive.”

It is a difficult balance to strike, particularly when the stakes are high. Here are their top 4 tips:

  1. Instead of bragging about personal achievements, find ways to spotlight team and colleague triumphs.

  2. Discuss opposing ideas without sounding judgmental. Listen carefully and avoid interrupting the interviewer.

  3. Avoid lingo and use plain, simple language and be authentic.

  4. Seek honest, behavioural feedback from learning partners and trusted colleagues.

Cynthia K. Stevens, associate professor of management and organization says: “The key to success lies in matching the targeted employer’s needs – from technical and intangible skills to personality. Managers and recruiters have ideas about the qualities they need in a new hire that may not be clearly articulated in the advertisement or job description. It helps to know and reach out to the company’s employees and clients who can reveal internal pressures and pain points, as well as bright spots and pockets of opportunity.”

Ken White, associate dean of MBA and M.S. Programs says: “We’re hearing from employers who say ‘we have people who can do it, but can’t explain how to do it. Or, they can’t write or give an effective presentation.” Honing your communication and presentation skills sets you apart in the right way.

The bottom line here is that you need to show you can do something, not just say you can do it. Also, it helps if you come across as someone an employer can envision fitting in their company.

Getting the job after an interview advances you toward your financial and life goals and gives you a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-pride. These feelings are essential in continuous growth on the journey to success.

Practice your skills with your close friends and family before the interview. Most importantly, do not put excessive pressure on yourself. To gain a new perspective on the job you are trying to get, check out our Chasing the Job of Your Dreams Checklist.

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