Interviewing for Your Dream Job? This One Thing May Get You Hired
Ahhh, the job hunt. It’s exciting, frustrating, and at times even nerve-wracking.
You’ve prepped your resume, you’ve had your eye on the job posting for weeks. And then it happens: you get called in for an interview—for your dream job no less. After logging countless hours paying your dues, how do you capitalize on your opportunity to advance?
I spoke to Daisy Swan, a certified career coach in Los Angeles, and asked her that same question. She handles interview preparation, resume writing and career guidance every single day so I knew she’d be an excellent source of information – and inspiration – for those waiting on deck for their dream job interview.
1. Be Prepared
This almost goes without saying, but being prepared, of course, is a huge part of landing your dream job. Swan says that knowing background information about the company, as well as any recent developments or news from the company is absolutely necessary. It allows you to ask more specific questions and shows the interviewer you’re engaged in the industry and their company in general.
2. Be Confident
The other thing Swan notes is that your confidence is in direct correlation to your preparedness. And not only should you be well versed in the company where you are interviewing, but you should also be well prepared to speak about yourself too. “Be ready to answer those open-ended questions, such as ‘Why do you want to work here?’” The more comfortable you are discussing your accomplishments, the better you will be at presenting yourself and voila, the more confident you will be.
3. Don’t Forget That You Are Interviewing Them, Too
It’s easy to psyche yourself out, or feel like you have zero bargaining power when you’re in an interview position. Swan says that the best way to approach an interview is to remember that you’re more or less equals during this exchange. You are evaluating their company and whether or not the position is a good fit for you, as much as they are evaluating your capabilities as a potential employee. What may seem like a dream job may also not be exactly what you’re looking for, or may not really be all the position it’s cracked up to be. Swan suggests asking questions such as, “What does a typical day look like for you?" and “What are some ways you would describe the culture here?” so you to better understand the working dynamic within the company before you hop onboard. "You should know what it is that you want," Swan advises. The more you know about what kind of work environment you prefer, or need, the better you are prepared in understanding if the position is a good fit long term. Ensuring you have the tools and support to succeed is key.
4. Dress Code
Dress codes at work are probably in the most ‘gray area’ they have ever been, which is why it’s so important to get it right. Interviewing for a start-up, for example, might not require the full-on suit that would be expected in a Wall Street office. But certainly, don’t dress down. While I asked Swan, “is it better to overdress at first, and then have the company tell you later ‘Hey, we can actually dress more casual here?” Her answer surprised me at first: “No,” she said. Swan explained that it’s important that a potential employer can envision you fitting in at their company. This includes overdoing the level of dress. Her advice is to “look like the most polished and professional version of yourself,” while still maintaining the vibe of their business.
But if there’s one thing that Swan says sets you apart from the competition, it’s your enthusiasm for the position. She notes that for some reason, many people fear they will come across as too desperate in an interview if they flat-out say, “I really want this job.” But in fact, that can be one of the things that ultimately sets you apart the most. Employers want to see that you’re eager to get to work, that you’re excited for the opportunity to join their team. Swan says go ahead and state your enthusiasm for the job! If you’re competing with three other candidates that have the same level of experience, the same quality resume, and the same outstanding answers in an interview, think about it this way: the thing that could sway the employers in your favor is your enthusiasm for the job, and your willingness to put yourself out there.