Job interviews are intimidating because you’re never certain what will be asked or how the interviewer will receive your answers. However, there are some things you can control, and being prepared is key to performing well during an interview. Here are some tips for job interview prep that aren’t so obvious:
You don’t always have control of when your interview will take place, but if you are given an option, keep this in mind: Research has shown that timing your interview right can make the difference between getting hired or being passed over. According to one study, “…especially in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation, preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”
In summary, if the job you’re interviewing for is getting filled immediately, you want to be first up on the interview agenda. Otherwise, schedule your interview to land around 10:30am on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Avoid Monday and Fridays because people are either checking out for the weekend or just getting back into the swing of things. 10:30am is a sweet-spot in the morning, not too soon before or after lunch, and late enough that the interviewers have had enough time to prepare and take care of other tasks so you have their full attention.
The weakness question
You know it’s coming, the dreaded “what’s your weakness?” question. Instead of flatly spelling out a weakness such as having a hard time delegating tasks because you just want to do everything yourself, talk about how you have taken steps to overcome your weakness. For instance, detail how you still have the inclination to take care of everything that comes across your desk yourself but that you have taken steps to prioritize and separate the tasks that can be handed over to someone else so that you can focus on the ones that really need your personal attention. Employers are expecting you to be self-aware and to have a plan in place to overcome any weaknesses you know you have.
Multi-task your questions
At the end of the interview, you will have a chance to ask questions, and the interviewers will expect you to deliver. This is a great time to add in any additional information about yourself that hasn’t come across in the interview. For instance, if you have extensive philanthropic interest and experience, you could ask something like “I have a strong passion for philanthropy and believe that it is every company’s responsibility to give something back to the community it serves. Does this position offer any chances for community outreach?” Tie in your interests/skills with the job opening, and make yourself stand out from the competition.
You can’t always control what happens in an interview, but being prepared for the above scenarios will give you an extra advantage over other job candidates.