Once you have an interview lined up, how do you sell yourself to the hiring manager with your skills and accomplishments? How do you get to the core of what they are looking for? Having a clear strategy will take you from rambling to speaking clearly and concisely. And it will take you from stabbing in the dark to truly understanding the company’s needs. From my years of experience in recruiting, here are the secrets to a successful interview.

Start Off Right

You’re aligned for success when you start the interview off right. One of the most common openers in an interview is “Tell us a little bit about yourself.” This question can trip up even the most seasoned professional, trailing you off in the wrong direction. That’s not a good start. Be prepared for this opener with a simple formula.

  • Start with a one sentence summary of your career.
  • Follow with a 1 to 2 sentence accomplishment that will be so compelling that the interviewer will absolutely ask you about it.
  • Then give a one sentence summary of what you want to do next and why you are considering a change.
  • Then ask, “Is there anything more specific that you would like to know?”
  • Be prepared for follow up questions and be prepared to answer them concisely and chronologically.

Great Questions

One of the keys to a successful interview is to ask the right questions early on. It’s critical that you discover what they expect you to accomplish in the position. Understanding that is the most important first step. Once you understand what they need, you can speak directly to how you can solve their problems.

  • Understand what the company needs then speak to how you can solve that need.
  • Use your experience and accomplishments to support your value.
  • Demonstrate how you can solve their problem by accentuating past successes.
  • Show yourself as a problem solver.
  • Understand their needs, then don’t forget to sell yourself.

Desirable Traits

Understanding what’s expected of you is the most important thing in the interview. In addition to that, keep in mind that hiring managers are looking for certain desirable traits. Be sure you’re aware of those and find ways to highlight them. Key traits:

  • A high achiever, intelligence, and motivation
  • Likability, confidence, and excellent communication skills
  • Honesty and commitment
  • The ultimate X Factor they are looking for is a good cultural fit. So, ask questions about the culture. Ask them how they would characterize their culture to a stranger.

The Details

Lastly, prepare for the interview with some of the basics.

  • Overdress.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early; you cannot be late!
  • Research the company and the interviewers.
  • Have some ideas of what they’re going to talk to you about.
  • Study your resume and know it.
  • Ask thoughtful questions.

Start the interview off right by summarizing your career and speaking about your accomplishments. Talk about what’s next, and why you are looking for a change. Early in the interview, ask what they expect you to accomplish in the position. Then you can speak directly to those points with solutions to their problems. Use your past experiences to illustrate your ability to solve those problems. Lastly, be sure you can frame what you talk about in the interview in the context of the most sought-after traits that hiring managers are looking for. Follow this strategy and you’ll be in a position to accept the best offer from the company of your choice!

Are you looking for an in-house position?

At Quaero Group we work with top companies nationwide, and we can be a resource to help you to find interesting, lucrative, and meaningful work in an in-house counsel position. Contact us to talk about your options.

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