The great resignation had many of us questioning our happiness in our current employment situations. While this rapid “quit” fest is slowing down, the seed has been planted that we should always be questioning whether the grass is greener on the other side.
While you are interviewing for your next opportunity you may be preparing for the “tell me about yourself” question and making lists of your strengths and weaknesses, however, there are a few other essential nuggets to keep in mind when interviewing.
Here are three important ideas you may have overlooked while preparing for your next interview:
YOU ARE INTERVIEWING THEM AS MUCH AS THEY ARE INTERVIEWING YOU
I have worked with so many clients this past year helping them move from one position to another. We work a lot on managing nerves and responding to questions. However, when I mention the idea that they are also interviewing the company, this seems to pique interest.
When you are interviewing for your next job, while you need them to want you, you also need to evaluate whether you want to work for them. There will always be another opportunity (and as someone who has changed careers many times, believe me). When we interview, we will often see ourselves in a weaker position and can feel like we have no power in the situation. When we start to remember this idea that we are also interviewing the company, it gives us some power back in what feels like a powerless position.
It is important to look for red flags. Do you like the person you are interviewing with? Have you asked about the company culture and does this align with your values? Will they respect your work-life balance, and can they provide concrete examples of this? Inquire about what success looks like in this role, whether others have achieved it, and whether it is something you can realistically fulfill.
Trust your instincts: If you leave an interview feeling like you wouldn’t enjoy working with the people you met, follow your gut. Similarly, if you feel uplifted, positively challenged, and excited, take it as a sign it would be a good fit for you.
Don’t give away all of your power in an interview. It is your life and your time—don’t waste it just because you feel desperate.
YOUR INTERVIEWER CAN SMELL DESPERATION
On the note of desperation, while you might feel it, you cannot show it. You may have been out of work for some time, or very unhappy in your current situation and are eager to get out. You may feel desperate to move on.
If you show up in the interview with the mindset “I have to get this job or else…” you are already setting yourself up for failure.
Rather shift your thinking to: they have a problem. They have a position to fill and are looking to solve this problem. You could be the solution to this problem, and even if you might be a good solution, going back to my previous point, you have to make sure it fits you.
If you feel desperate, it is important to not bring your neediness into the room. Focus on being in the moment, your authentic self, and take the experience one step at a time. If you enter the interview thinking only about getting to the second round, you won’t be fully present. It is crucial to be present and take your time through the process.
BE MINDFUL OF HOW YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT
When you are asked why you are exploring new opportunities and you have been unhappy with your past or existing employer, don’t throw them under the bus.
I was speaking with a recruiter recently about this and if you shine a negative light on your previous or current employer, you will demonstrate a negative attitude. I am not saying you need to say everything was sunshine and rainbows at your last job, but if you only talk about the negative it tells your interviewer (who just met you) that you tend to focus on the negatives.
Rather than saying “My last manager was a complete micro-manager and I felt I could never be left to do my own work” say “I am looking for new opportunities where I can independently tackle my assignments”.
Honesty is always the best policy, but there is a way to express yourself positively while conveying the same message.
While interview preparation. is crucial, it is equally important to remain relaxed and in the moment. If you are thrown an unexpected question, take your time to respond. If you are unsure about the reason behind a question, don’t hesitate to ask for more context. Remember, you must be your own advocate and recognize that you have some power in the situation.