3 Key Factors that Make or Break an Interview

By Diwakar on June 4, 2020

Whether you’re a generalist up against a lot of competition for a role or a have a super niche skillset that isn’t easy to find, no job offer is a guarantee. Three key factors have a heavy hand in nailing an interview – your preparedness, how you present yourself, and your attitude.

I caught up with Sera Berlacher, SPECTRAFORCE Client Services Manager, for insight on how to best approach each of these key factors.

Study in Advance

Preparedness is a huge factor in whether or not an interview is successful. You don’t want to wait until the morning on the day of your interview to study – cramming and rushing can lead to exhaustion, which is not how you want to feel when you walk into the meeting room.

The day before, make sure you’re confident with any material you need to study or review. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll want to be ready for a relaxed, conversational approach to discussing your experience and skillset versus sounding rehearsed – there is no need to overload yourself with tidbits to be sure to say, just have 3 experiences in your back pocket: a positive, a negative, and a professional growth driver.

Dress, Setup, and Test for Success

How you present yourself visually is equally as important. This, of course, starts with your outfit. Keep it professional, simple, and comfortable. Wearing anything flashy or fidgeting from discomfort can overshadow your conversation.

In addition, make sure you have printed copies of your resume ready to go – this is not a thing of the past in the eyes of all hiring managers.

If you’re interviewing virtually, as so many are in today’s professional climate, don’t stray from the above. Don’t skimp on your outfit assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up – if an unforeseen reason requires you to stand up, you don’t want to be wearing pajama pants. And have a printed copy of your resume next to you for reference – looking through it on your computer while on video may come across as you’re not paying attention since they can only see you and not what you’re doing on your screen.

Setup and testing are important additional factors when interviewing via video.

  • Choose a space where nothing distracting is behind you.
  • Plan in advance to avoid unwanted noise such as dogs barking.
  • Test your lighting and sound quality in a practice run with a friend.
  • Don’t forget to charge your computer.

Be Confident   

This should be considered from two perspectives. First, you want to be confident, but not arrogant. As we mentioned in the intro of this post, even if you’re incredibly niche and up against little competition, no job offer is a guarantee – there is always someone else. You want to show up confident and proud of your work and skillset, yet also humble.

Second, you want to make sure any anxiety or stress doesn’t take away from your confidence. Nerves get the best of us in all sorts of situations – job interviews are no exception. To prevent feeling this way, start your day as you would any other day. Since you prepared in advance, there’s no reason to stray from your relaxing cup of coffee or your morning run. Just ensure you have enough time to get dressed, gather your things, and arrive 15 minutes early. In addition, before walking in, remind yourself that a job interview is a two-way street. You are evaluating them as an employer just as much as they are evaluating you as an employee – view this as an opportunity to simply have a conversation between two parties about what everyone stands to gain.

You can also check out this page for other job interview tips.