Yes, I’m weird and seriously love interviews. I realize this is abnormal but I think we can help you grow at least a LITTLE bit of love for interviews too. Here’s the deal, I look at interviews as the opportunity to meet people in my field that I look up to or admire. I go in with positivity and realize that if nothing else, at least I’ve made a great new connection. And for me, those connections (from MANY interviews over the last decade) have come in REALLY handy.
My Lady Boss Perspective
Okay, here are my FAVORITE things about interviews and I really am encouraging you to think of these when you’re crazy nervous for your next interviews:
I get to talk about all of the things I’m most passionate about
So I understand sometimes we just need a job, and maybe it’s not directly in your field, but let’s take this from the perspective that you’re interviewing for a job you actually want or are interviewing for that promotion you’ve been vying for within your current company. Really, the best interviews are just a chance to share your passion for what you love to do! If you’re in the right career field, it should be hard for you to STOP talking in the interview. Spend your time sharing all of the things you LOVE about your field, LOVE about your position, and LOVE about leading. Think of it like you’re meeting an old friend you haven’t caught up with in years, and you’re catching her up on all of the beautiful things in your professional world. I know it can’t be only me that loves talking about my job!
Storytelling is your FRIEND
To go along with the positivity of the first point, to effectively share that passion you HAVE to be a storyteller. This is a skill that you want to cultivate even out of the interview setting, but is a MUST in the interview itself. And it’s fun! Here’s my biggest suggestion: make sure when you answer the interviewer’s question that you also tell a small story about the skill you’re highlighting in action. So for instance, you almost always get the question, “What’s your biggest strength?”, and your answer should include that strength and then a time that you used that strength with a great outcome in your workplace.
WARNING: do NOT wait until the interview to start thinking about these stories. You need to be thinking about these and have a repertoire you’re ready to pull from in the interview. You don’t want to have that horrible experience of answering, “Tell me about a time that you disagreed with your manager”, with “Well, hmmmmmm, I really can’t think of a time that I’ve ever disagreed with my manager!”. So NOT true, and your interviewer then is concerned about your self-awareness and your ability to think on your feet. Make sure you’ve gone through some common interview questions and at least have a story on hand about you using your biggest strength in the workplace, a time you disagreed with a customer/coworker/manager and how you reached a positive result, a story about how you’re working to improve your biggest weakness (since you almost always get asked that as well), a story about your biggest professional accomplishment, a time you helped a coworker or teammate grow in their professional skillset, what your best day looks like at work, and what your worst day at work looked like.
Dressing like a BOSS
I’m a pretty casual gal most of the time, and my favorite thing is to be in my yoga pants and t-shirts my husband has collected for me from all of the fires he’s fought throughout our relationship. But, the interview is really the time that I get to dress up like the badass business woman I am and seriously it makes me feel POWERFUL. Have fun with it, obviously be professional, but wear something that makes you feel like the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company! It really does help with the confidence and is worth a little investment.
Making true connections
I have met some of the BEST people in my life through interviews, even the interviews that didn’t turn into me getting the job! Several of them are now mentors for me, some are coworkers, some I volunteer with, and some I’ve just become great friends with. Either way, the people usually interviewing you are in positions that you someday want or at least are further along in their career journey. These are the people that you want to remember you, and the people you want to rub elbows with. Take this opportunity to again show them your passion and they will remember you if you are a great storyteller (it’s really the only way to differentiate yourself in an interview)! Get their business cards and follow up. Once you know if you got the job or not, make sure to follow up and see if they’d be interested in grabbing coffee and hearing more about their journey to success. Most people are pretty darn awesome and will open up to a great person who is working their way up the ladder.
Now Take It From Some of the Most Influential Women
Your excitement and positivity are crucial to the interview, but I know that of course you want and need some good ol’ fashioned tips and tricks. I’m going to leave you a few great resources that I’ve come across, but I also want you to let me know in the comments if this topic piques your interest and what other things you want to know about interviewing. There is SO much more to interviewing, but I want it to resonate for you so tell me what ya need!
This article by Jessica Chou from Refinery29 is great for preparing for the inevitable, “Do you have any questions for us?” Check it out here and make sure you have 1-2 questions ready for your interviewer(s).
Rachel Gillett, Aine Cain, and Skye Gould from Business Insider rounded up a ton of incredibly successful leaders’ favorite interview questions for you right here. Some are totally off the wall of course (Elon Musk is an interesting fella to say the least), but either way they get you thinking. And it’s SO important to always think about WHY the interviewer is asking you something. For instance, when they ask you to tell them about you they aren’t interested in your family or your hobbies, they want you to give them the biggest highlights of your professional qualifications and see if they match what is needed for the position.
Jenna Goudreau from Forbes wrote this great post on mistakes that we as women often fall prey to during our interviews. This is a goodie, and we really have to stay aware of the things we may do unconsciously as women that can hurt us.
So, What Now?
Check out one of the articles above, and share a new insight you learned in the comments! 🗣 Bonus points if you share that new insight with a colleague or boss bestie!
Talk soon 👋🏻