We’ve all had that amazing interview for that perfect job. You wait and wait for the acceptance email only to be told, “you’re not the right fit.”
While your résumé, credentials, and interview skills are all essential to landing the job, effectively standing out from other qualified applicants often boils down to “fit.” There are many nuances that define “fit” across roles and industries, but there are some steps you can take to nail down this elusive quality in your next interview.
1. Understand the Company’s Culture
You’re never going to know whether you will “fit” with the company unless you understand the its culture. Are they structured and corporate, or a creative-based startup? Finding out how your target company compares to its competitors is a great place to start. If one company is known for its speed and precision while another is known for its laid-back approach, the tactics you use will change dramatically between interviews. So – and yes, we know we say this in every post, but – do your research. Every time.
2. Research Your Interviewer
Hey look, more research! We promise – this one is important.
While you may not always know who will be sitting on the other side of the table, understanding your interviewers specialties and interests will help you avoid topics or approaches that may turn them off. It will also help you devise questions that are specific to your interviewer’s experiences, such as current events surrounding their specialties or a common interest you share. Your interviewer will be impressed that you did your homework, and even more so if you make the effort to find a personal connection.
3. Request an Informational Interview
Not only does this step count as research, but it may also reveal shared personal or professional connections between yourself and your future coworkers. This is a huge plus, because tapping into your network can be a big factor the success of your job hunt. It also shows that you’re truly interested in the position.
However, be sure to remember that any contact you have with someone in the company has the potential to become part of your hiring process. Make sure you treat these conversations interview-appropriate, and remain professional throughout.
4. Make Your Enthusiasm Known
If you really want to work in your chosen company, be sure to make it known! Showcase your enthusiasm in your cover letter, during your interview, and in your follow-up note. If you can, attend company events or engage with them on social media. You never want your interest in a position to be in doubt, and it certainly never hurts to remind your interviewer of how desirable their company truly is to applicants.
There are as many interview formats as there are companies, so knowing what you’re up against will give you a huge boost. Contacting your recruiter or target company’s HR manager to ask about the interview format is usually more than acceptable, and it will give you the edge you need to stand out. Investing some time to become familiar with this interviewing style will prepare you for the type and variety of questions you will be asked, and will give you valuable time to practice your responses. We recommend grabbing a friend, roommate, spouse, or parent to help fine-tune your answers before the big day. You’re aiming for the perfect combination of relaxed, genuine, excited and professional to show that you’re the perfect person for the job.
Job searchers are hard work, with many steps along the way. But putting in that extra effort can be the difference between landing your dream position and another rejection letter claiming you weren’t the right “fit.”