What is your superpower?
Have you figured out what it is that you are inherently good at? That thing you naturally do well? It is a superpower if it is easy for you and if others are impressed with your ability. As important as identifying your superpower, is putting that superpower to work for you.
Below are 4 tips on how to interview successfully, making your superpower known to your interviewer, without bragging or coming across as arrogant.
Tip #1 –Storytelling
You should have at least 3 superhero stories prepared and rehearsed. These are examples of things you have done that demonstrate what will be of value to the company you are interviewing with. This means doing some research to know enough about the company to know what their missions and values are, and what their company culture looks like.
The emphasis with these stories is results. Don’t tell them what you were responsible for. Tell them what you did and what the outcome and impact of our contribution was. “I implemented this new process that reduced waste by n% and increased quality by n%.” Metrics are really important. If you can’t quantify the outcome, saying you improved something carries very little weight.
Tip #2 – Take Control
The more you interview, the more you will realise that many interviewers are terrible at interviewing. They have no idea how to figure out who you are. They will talk about the role, the company, themselves but spend little time trying to explore what you have to offer. Be prepared to take control of the interview.
This is tricky and it is just one of the reasons why you need to practice interviewing. Finding the right moment to jump in and ask, “can I tell you a story?”, can be the difference between an interview that wasted your time and theirs, and an interview where you helped an inept interviewer discover your superpowers. Try to make sure that you don’t embarrass the interviewer. You want them to feel like they brilliantly manoeuvred the conversation to reveal your talents. You want to control the interview without them realising that you are controlling the interview.
Tip #3 – Ask Questions
Asking questions is common advice for interviews but I want to expand on what you might understand about this aspect of the interview. This isn’t just about asking intelligent questions that impress the interviewer with your insightfulness or knowledge of their business. You should ask questions that help reveal what the culture is and what type of leadership style your direct manager exhibits.
Remember, this is also your opportunity to decide if you want to work for them.
Finding the right job is about finding people you want to work with, in an organisation and industry you feel passionate about.
Don’t take a job because of a brand name, or because the position has some fancy title that will look good on your resume. Don’t interview for a job that doesn’t leverage your superpowers, or interview because the salary or benefits package looks attractive. You want to be a superhero among a team of superheroes. You want to work in an environment where the people around you make you better and inspire you.
Tip #4 – Practice
Don't wait until the interview of that dream job to practice your interviewing skills. Practice your storytelling in networking opportunities, or have trial interviews and with a mentor or coach. You may also want to get someone to video you telling your story so you can watch it and see how well your present yourself. You want your story telling to be natural, not too rehearsed or scripted. It sounds counter intuitive, but it takes practice to sound natural instead of rehearsed.
Smile and be confident, but never cocky. Don’t over sell and never apologise for not having a skill or experience an interviewer asks about. If you don’t have a skill or experience, don’t ever lie, exaggerate, or pretend. Simply remind them of the things you have done, the things you are passionate about, and your ability and willingness to learn quickly.
Don't wait until the interview of that dream job to practice your interviewing skills
here's the truth
Interviews are a terrible way to select candidates for hire, but the reality is, this is still the predominant way in which companies hire their employees. Until things change, you'd better be ready. Know what your superpower is and tell your story. Don’t try to be the person you think a hiring manager wants you to be. Be yourself. If you are the right fit, great. If not, hold your head up high and be confident to walk away and wait for the right opportunity.
A version of this post was previously published at Xccelerate.co
Xccelerate enables students and companies to acquire the skills they need in Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Software Engineering. With campuses in Hong Kong and Singapore, Accelerate has trained 700+ professionals and boasts a 91% hiring success rate in their immersive programs.