If you want to land the job you want, you’ll need certain skills and certain experience. You’ll also need to nail your interviews. And to nail your interviews—virtual or in-person—you’ll need the following three traits.
Before you interview, you need to be clear about the needs of the organization you’re interviewing with, the requirements of the role you’re applying for, and how your experience and skills match those needs and requirements. If you’re clear about this, then you’ll be able to answer questions thoughtfully, decisively, and intentionally. However, if you’re unclear about these needs and requirements and how you fit with the role, then you’ll be confused about how to answer, and it’ll be difficult to convince your interviewer you’re the right person for the job.
That said, don’t worry if you don’t have this clarity already. If you’re not clear right now, you can take some basic actions to get clear. For example, you can research the organization’s website and LinkedIn page to learn about the organization’s business, its job descriptions, its people, recent news about the organization, and trends in the organization’s industry. You can also try to connect with a few people who are in similar roles and ask them what it’s really like to work in those positions. Keep in mind that clarity comes from action, not from thought. So, only by doing, not by thinking, will you get the clarity you need to succeed in interviews.
Curiosity leads to solutions. When you approach projects and tasks with curiosity, you tend to stay the course and solve challenges, not succumb to them. If something isn’t working, you get curious about it, and find ways to improve, refine, and problem solve. This is why curiosity is incredibly important when interviewing. No matter how many mistakes you make—and you will make them—if you get curious about how you can improve in interviews, it will serve you very well.
You’ll search for ways to improve your answers to behavioral questions (“Tell me about a time when you…”), your story (“Tell me about yourself…”), and your sales pitch (“Why are you right for this role?”). You’ll get curious about which questions threw you off and why, what problems companies need to solve, what solutions you have to offer, and how best to communicate those solutions in your interviews.
Confidence is critical to your success in interviews. Hiring managers look for candidates who are confident in their skills and abilities, and confident that they’ll be able to be successful in the role they’re applying for. So how do you build confidence if you don’t think you have it or you think you need more of it?
While many people think that they can create confidence simply by preparing for an interview like a test, that’s just a small part of creating confidence. Typically, confidence is built over time, by taking action over and over again. It’s built by trial and error, by doing, and learning from doing.
And when it comes to interviewing, confidence comes from just that: interviewing, over and over. This means interviewing as much as you can. You might even have to accept interviews for jobs you’re not all that interested in—just for the practice. Or, it means doing mock interviews with a coach or a friend. It could also mean recording your answers to interview questions (after all, these days you’ll be interviewing virtually, so you better get used to talking to the screen).
The bottom line is the more often you interview or practice interviewing, the more experience you’ll have with all sorts of questions, and the less you’ll fear interviews. And that translates into a boost in confidence.
Natalie Fisher is best known for helping professionals land their dream jobs and achieve explosive salary growth (even with little experience). If you want to dive deeper on the topic of your career mindset and become a person who knows exactly how to land their dream job, listen to her podcast Get a 6-Figure Job You Love.