You read all interview prep blogs, did mock interviews, went through countless number of interview questions, came up with your strengths and weaknesses, practiced every answer over and over again and now finally you are ready.
And the phone rings…and the questioning starts…and you start reciting your answers…one by one…question after question…without taking a breath…and all of a sudden you sound like a machine and do not even pay any attention to the interviewer. You do not take a break to even check if they are listening or if they have any questions. And your monotonous monologue goes nowhere…
An interview is not an interrogation where you answer questions as if you are on trial. It is not a keynote address and it sure is not a monologue. A successful interview is a pleasant conversation. It is a dialog where you ask and answer questions, listen to feedback and make sure that you understood the questions and gave proper answers. It is an opportunity for you to elaborate on your experience and highlight your skills and you cannot do that if you just answer the questions without paying attention to feedback.
Having an interview means that the interviewer looked at your Resume and saw something interesting that captured their attention and they want to learn more about you. You already wrote about the basics of your experience in your Resume, so repeating the same things that they already read about will be a waste of time. Instead, let the interviewer know what is not in your Resume, such as details about your roles, your contributions to the team, challenges you faced.
Interviewers often ask questions based on the challenges they are facing, such as “how would you deal with a difficult stakeholder” often means they do have one or more people that have been hard to work with. Make sure you try to understand the reasoning behind questions and give specific answers with relevant examples. “I am very good with dealing with difficult stakeholders” is not at all a specific answer, rather your answer should be something like “In my role with XYZ company as a Project Manager one of the sponsors was difficult to deal with. In order to understand what was causing their concerns I set up a meeting…” Real-life examples such as these would create a dialog with the interviewer and have them reveal more about the culture, atmosphere and role.
Successful candidates are good at reading between the lines, understanding the needs of the company and asking smart questions that would emphasize their knowledge, skills and interest in the role. Most importantly successful candidates are the ones that understand companies do not only look for skills but also look for a cultural fit, many companies are willing to give “the right” candidate a chance. We are all looking for someone we will enjoy working with, that will contribute to the success of the company but at the same time bring positivity and dynamism to the team, so just relax, take your time, be pleasant and bring your A game?
Also check out my earlier post:
Good luck to all of you during your interviews:)