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HR Query: How Job Candidates Can Stand Out in a Competitive Hiring Market

Analysis  |  By HR Daily Advisor  
   March 06, 2024

Find out how to demonstrate confidence in an interview and how to take control of an interview.

This article was first published on March 4, 2024, by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

In this week’s HR Query, Amanda Hahn, Chief Marketing Officer at HireVue, and Greg Lewis, Career Advisor at University of Phoenix, share key tips from the hiring experts at HireVue and career advisors at the University of Phoenix on ways to demonstrate confidence and taking control of the interview process.

How to demonstrate confidence in an interview

AH: The best way to demonstrate confidence in an interview is to come prepared with a clear understanding of the role and how your skills and potential make you a good candidate for the job. Before any interview, take time to research the role and write down past projects or experience examples that demonstrate your competency with the requirements of the job. 

The STAR method is a great way to organize your thoughts. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Even if you’re feeling anxious, obvious preparation goes a long way toward conveying confidence to an interviewer.

And if you’re taking a video interview, a great way to appear confident is comfort with the technology you’re using. Check your wifi connection, audio, and video capabilities before you start. If your interview is a HireVue interview, you’ll be able to follow the simple on-screen steps to ensure your system is running at peak performance – controlling what you can about your environment goes a long way toward calming interview jitters.  

GL: Confidence is important in all aspects of life and never more so than in a job interview. A confident mindset and belief in yourself are key but true confidence in an interview comes from preparation. If you want to impress an interviewer then effectively communicate your knowledge of your audience, the job and how you are the best fit for the opportunity. A good candidate will be able to make the interview more of a conversation with the intention of interviewing the employer as well. You want to make sure this job and employer are a good fit for you as well.

Here are a few tips to create this confidence for the interview.

Do your Homework: Research the company by exploring their website and other sources to learn more about the background, mission, and core business of the employer. When appropriate, you can add these details into the interview discussion or at least have a several questions prepared to ask the interviewer. When possible, research your interviewers’ professional backgrounds too. LinkedIn provides a common way to learn more about their career path background and experience with the company. You may not use this during an interview, but it helps to know your audience.

Study the Job: Closely review the qualifications and responsibilities sections on the job description. Identify the knowledge, skills and abilities required to do this job effectively. Also identify questions about the job, departmental structure, or other job specific details you would like to know more about.

Know Yourself: You know your audience and the job. Now match yourself to role based on your background and their hiring needs. Why are you the best candidate? Be prepared to not only speak to your skills and expertise but also provide relevant examples to provide evidence of your matching background.

How to take control of the interview

AH: Companies ultimately decide who they believe is the best fit for a role, but that doesn’t mean candidates are powerless in the process. Take command of the factors within your control, such as preparation for interview questions, selecting a comfortable time and place to take a digital interview, and coming prepared with questions you’d like to ask about a given role.

If you’re in a job interview and it starts to feel like questions are going in a direction that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s reasonable to ask for clarification to help bring the conversation back to a place you’re comfortable with.

And if you find yourself in an interview where there seems to be a misalignment with your values, expectations or needs, trust your gut, and move on with your search to an organization that feels better suited to you.  

GL: A strong interviewee will assert confidence from the beginning of the interview process by being prepared and professional in all interactions with the employer. Set the tone early. Same goes for the interview itself. A strong introduction and beginning to the interview can provide you with the confidence needed throughout the interview.

How can you make this happen? One approach that has worked well for me is being prepared for those initial interview questions like “tell them about yourself” or “why you are interested in the position.” This is your opportunity to briefly summarize your qualifications for the role and immediately demonstrate that you are a quality fit. If you can do that early in the interview, you are likely to do well throughout the remainder of the interview.

Practice your summary of qualifications for the role. Getting off to a good start is not essential but it sure can help calm the nerves and establish you as a qualified candidate.

There are additional interview situations where you should feel confident to assert yourself or ask questions. Some include:

Confusing or Challenging question: Ask for clarification or more context if there is a question that is ambiguous, or you do not understand. You won’t want to do this often but if you need more information to answer the question confidently: ask.

Add Relevant Intel-If there is something you want to convey about your skills or qualifications that is relevant to the position that did not come up in the interview, share it at the end – maybe say something like …’ before we end, let me tell you something that I didn’t have the chance to share earlier.’ The key is relevance, so pick your spots when adding additional information.

Always ask questions and interview the employer – Ask questions that will help you assess if the job and company are a good fit for you. Show them you are invested by doing your homework with appropriate questions and follow-ups.

Employers want their employees to be confident and competent. By being prepared and assertive in the interview, you help them envision you successfully in the job. The bottom line is you are the one that needs to prove your fit and engage the employer in the interview. Be proactive, enthusiastic and take that opportunity with confidence through preparation and knowledge that you are the top candidate. Preparation=Confidence.

HR Daily Advisor is BLR’s FREE daily source of HR tips, news, and advice. HR Daily Advisor offers free webcasts, articles, and reports on topics important to HR and compensation professionals.

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