Why Give a Damn:
You want to land a job focused on solving the world’s biggest problems? First, you need to “wow” your interviewer and stand out from the other resumes. Read these 4 tips to learn how.
The author of this post, Verity Noble, currently VP of Programming at Unreasonable Institute, strongly believes you can achieve anything if you have a step-by-step plan to make it happen. Founding her own group travel and events company, along with having a deeply entrepreneurial spirit, gives her insight into the challenges Unreasonable entrepreneurs face.
Make yourself memorable compared to the multitude of resumes and candidates. Tweet This Quote
At Unreasonable we do a ton of interviews. Whether that be for potential Fellows to attend the institute or for Mavericks (interns) to join us for the summer.
We get some amazing candidates. People who have done unbelievable things, changed lives, scaled (metaphorical and physical) mountains and been thoroughly unreasonable most of their lives.
But, I’m always surprised at some of the basic etiquettes that interviewees fail to follow. Here are my top 4 pieces of advice for interviewing like a rock star:
- Do your homework. If you’re applying for a job at an organization you should have gone over their entire website with a fine tooth comb. You should know who their partners are, what challenges they are facing and who every member of the team is (or at least key management team depending on the size of the organization). Spend an hour or so guessing which questions they may ask you about the organization itself and writing down these answers so you have them at the tip of your tongue.
- Prepare some answers. It’s an interview, you’re going to be asked questions and a lot of these questions are opportunities for you to showcase yourself, so work out what it is you want the interviewer to know (e.g. you put on an event for 1000 people that raised $10k for a school in Malawi) and work out what strength you are showcasing with that example (self-starter, highly organized, motivated etc.). Then, when you are inevitably asked about your strengths and areas for improvement, you have something well thought out and awesome to say.
- Don’t dress up strengths as weaknesses. If someone asks for an area of improvement (i.e. a weakness) they don’t want to hear that you’re a perfectionist or you work too hard. Those are strengths. If you’re interviewing with me, I will most definitely push back and tell you that, so please come prepared with an actual weakness. I always advise militant transparency but use this with caution. If you are really difficult to work with, telling that to a future employer will definitely mean you don’t get the job. But telling them that you need to work on trusting the team around you more would show an awareness of your inability to delegate while showing that you have thought about how you can improve. Even better, talk about what you are doing to fill that gap in your skill set.
- FOLLOW UP! You may have heard this so many times that it’s beginning to sound like a broken record. I interviewed 18 people last week and only one – ONE! – followed up immediately after their interview. A few followed up a couple of days later (seriously, it’s an email, it takes 2 seconds, you have a smartphone, right?) and a number of really promising candidates didn’t follow up at all. This is so disappointing and immediately puts a black mark by your name in my book.
Remember, if you’re going for a great job, the interviewer is probably combing through a multitude of resumes and interviewing a ton of candidates. Make yourself memorable.
These 4 things will make you stand out, head and shoulders, above other candidates. And none of them are hard to do. Now go ahead and blow your interviewer’s mind just by doing a little bit of preparation.
Blow your interviewer’s mind just by doing a little bit of preparation. Tweet This Quote