I’ve interviewed countless people from executives, sales professionals, project managers and account executives. I typically know within the first 2 minutes whether or not they are going to make it through the hiring process. Below are 5 tips to ensure you get to the next level.  

Tailor your pitch

Practice the inevitable, “Tell me about yourself” question. You know it’s coming, prepare for it. Don’t just drone on about every job you have had, don’t ramble, don’t rehash your resume, and for the love of god, show some personality.

Use these guidelines, each bullet should have 1-2 sentences MAX. 

  • Introduction of who you are personally and an overview of your skills. 
  • Connect your skills to the job description.
  • Briefly mention hobbies, intellectual development and community involvement. You want to make sure you are a good culture fit for the company and who knows….your new boss might have the same interests which will set you apart from other candidates. This happened to me once when no one else on the hiring committee wanted to hire me, but my new boss had the same exact passions as me. 
  • Why you are here and are interested in this position at this company. 

Practice this and try it out on friends and colleagues. This will make or break your interview. 

Prepare, seriously

You’re landing interview after interview and are seemingly in high demand. You start to wing it and barely even look up the company’s website, let alone do some recon on your interviewers on LinkedIn. Those interviews will start to dry up and your job offers will become nonexistent. Spend time researching the industry, company, and leadership prior to every meeting and have at least 5 thoughtful questions ready to fire off. 

Don’t share too much information

Look, I care about people, I really do…but not in the first interview. I’m trying to efficiently find the best fit for my team so that we never have to interview for that role again. Interviewing and training is a time suck, so I want to try my hardest to make sure we get it right the first time. I will care about your pet’s sickness, your divorce and your Keto Diet after I hire you but not in the initial interview. OK, maybe I won’t, but at least I will act like I do.  Sharing anecdotes is great when you are building rapport, but there should be no drama or lengthy stories that don’t pertain to anything of value. 

Read the room, ask questions and listen more than you speak. 

Act like you want to be there

I once interviewed the most qualified, talented, experienced Technical PM we had ever seen come through the door. 

I cut the interview after 15 minutes (that was my minimum cutoff time to be respectful to a candidate).  

This person looked amazing on paper, but their demeanor, body language and actual language during the interview showed that they didn’t care, didn’t need this interview and didn’t value our time. They also used profanity. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a lifelong lover of profanity, but not in a job interview. Next!

If you aren’t interested in the position, politely decline the interview or better yet, recommend a colleague who might be a fit. Don’t waste people’s valuable time and put your reputation at risk for being disrespectful in an interview. 

You might be written about in a blog one day.  

Ask questions

This is the easiest part. If you don’t ask any questions it shows that you haven’t truly thought about how you fit into the role or company long term. Also, do you seriously not have any questions? Really?!  You’re going to spend 40 hours a week here, you should have some questions. 

Don’t ask about things that are readily available on the company website. 

  • What do you do?
  • Who are your competitors?

You should know that already. 

Think critically about the role and write the questions down so you don’t forget.

Start to look for patterns during your interviews, make notes of where you fumbled so that you  constantly improve and make it past the 15 minute mark.