A job interview is not a test of your knowledge, but your ability to use it at the right time.

One of our most popular topics has been How to Ace the Interview (EP #113). There is not a user manual out there on how to do great in interviews. That’s in large part because there is not a standardized way that companies do them. Ask 20 companies and you’ll likely get 20 different answers on how they are conducted. No matter the format, if you follow the tips from episode 113 and the ones today, you’ll have a good foundation for success. 

Build your elevator pitch.


An elevator pitch is a short synopsis of what makes you unique and the value you add. It should not be long and should cover these three things. 

  • What you do.
  • Why you do it. 
  • Why it matters to the listener. 

Each section should be about equal in length or you run the potential of losing the focus on the other two parts. Here is an example of mine:

I’m a talent development professional that helps scale talent and business for organizations. I love being a part of a person’s and organization’s success story. I enjoy taking down hurdles to progress and giving people practical and tangible steps to growth. 

It should give the person just enough to understand your mission and leaves it open enough for them to ask more about it. 

Stay on target


It’s easy to get really excited about an opportunity that seems like the perfect fit for you. If you are ambitious you may already be thinking about how you will impact them and projects or initiatives that you can get going on a larger scale. While this is a great quality, you will want to stick to just what the job description entails or what he interviewer is asking. If you spend too much time talking about all the other things that you can bring to the table, you may come off as not wanting the position that you are applying for. 

Get the job first and then blow their minds with all the extra pieces that you can help them with. 

Know the values and culture of the organization


Do some research on the organization to learn its mission, value, and culture. Being able to tie your experience and values to their culture pieces certainly, do help you.

Let’s say one of the values is We Over Me. The interviewer asks you to share an example of how you contributed to a team goal. It’s easiest to plug the value at the beginning or the end.  “You know I love that one of your values is We Over Me and I enjoy working with teams. At my last job we had a situation……” This shows the interviewer that you understand the question, you know their value system and you identify with them. 

Knowing their values and cultures also helps you evaluate them during the interview process. Do they shout culture on their website only to find it far from the truth in the actual office? Perhaps they truly do and can share examples and stories of how they live it out on a daily basis. It can be a great way to affirm your feelings for them one way or the other. 

Know yourself, the organization and be prepared. Don’t forget to be yourself and have fun during the process!

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH