Perfect your elevator pitch. Research the interviewer. Practice your answers. Prepare challenging questions. Memorize the company’s mission statement. These are the first steps you’ll come across in a quick Google search for “Interview Tips.” Although such advice is essential for any interview, the real wow factor in any interview is you.
Whether it be a case study, a pitch, or even just an in-depth behavioral interview, each firm has its own method for thoroughly interviewing a candidate. As a hiring manager, I have conducted what seems like hundreds of interviews, each evaluating a pre-prepared project that every candidate is free to develop however they choose. What candidates often misconstrue is that we are not evaluating how accurate their answers are but rather their ability to think through a problem and arrive at a solution. Thus, you can master the company’s purpose, list off an excellent pedigree of past experiences, or even have pi memorized; however, the crucial element of any interview are the so-called “soft skills” the candidate possesses.
Being on the other side of the interview, I’ve seen firsthand that one’s process to getting to an answer is more important than the answer itself. The meaning and significance behind a previous role are more important than the job itself. One’s eloquence is more important than their ability to ramble off a list of questions or memorize a pitch. But most of all, I’ve witnessed that, for better or worse, how someone presents themselves on paper may be entirely different from the persona that they emulate in real life (or on Zoom). So next time you have an interview, stop and think about why you want the job itself and how you can let your personality and critical thinking skills shine.