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NextGen Magazine


Career Coach Offers Seven Tips for Succeeding at Job Interviews

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jun 8, 2023

To illustrate how low the odds of landing a job offer are, career coach AJ Eckstein cited some dispiriting statistics in Fast Company: Job seekers have a 26.24 percent probability of receiving a job offer. The average number of interviews before getting a job offer is anywhere between 10 and 20. Every application has an 8.3 percent chance of proceeding to the interviewing stage. 

So Eckstein set out to interview 30 recruiters from companies such as Netflix, Snapchat, McKinsey & Company, Goldman Sachs, Spotify, and Google. From those interviews, he distilled what he learned into seven lessons to get past the final round interview and get the job offer. 

The first is to practice mock interviews extensively. That practice is not just for the technical interview questions, but for those that gauge if a candidate is a good culture fit. These include, “What do you do outside of work?” and “What’s the last book you read?”

Former Meta recruiter Niki Woodall said that the goal should be to perform so well in the interview that, even if a candidate does not get the specific job applied for, recruiters will think of that person for other roles.

The second lesson is for candidates to connect the dots between themselves and the company. It is the candidate’s job to research the company and role in detail, highlight key skills in the job description, and then share examples of how they have had directly translatable experience that match what the company is searching for, said Chris Garinger, who has recruited workers for companies such as Tesla, Apple, Robinhood, and Salesforce.

The third lesson is to take ownership in one's career.

“The sad reality of applying for jobs is that you will lose more than you win,” Eckstein wrote. “Many job seekers start to blame recruiters and hiring managers, or even criticize the recruitment process overall.”

That sentiment was echoed by Farah Sharghi, a former recruiter for companies such as Google, Uber, Lyft, and Tiktok. “Don’t blame anyone. Just be strategic about your résumé, be strategic about the interview process,” she said. “Remember that ‘quick and easy’ is a scam. Work hard, trust the process, put yourself in a position for the best opportunities, and the rest will fall into place.”

The fourth lesson is to be authentic and unapologetically oneself.

“Show who you are, show up as you are, and know that companies like Spotify really appreciate people for their uniqueness and their diversity,” said Hannah Wolf, a campus recruiter at Spotify.

“Candidates often try so hard to fit in that they sometimes sound like robots,” added Eckstein. “You want to work at a company where you can add value and be your best self—your authentic self.”

The fifth lesson is to lean on the recruiter.

“[Y]ou are missing out by not asking recruiters for help,” Eckstein wrote. “Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter for tips on the interview process, how long the timeline will be, or even what the company and hiring manager are looking for. It is in a recruiter’s best interest to recruit the best talent that fits the company culture and meets the criteria established by the hiring manager.”

The sixth lesson is to build one's self-confidence. Eckstein cited two findings to bolster this assertion: 40 percent of recruiters will not hire candidates who are not confident in themselves, according to job site Zippia, and 39 percent of job seekers leave a bad impression due to confidence, voice quality or lack of a smile, according to a Harris Poll.

Jane Finkle, author of The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide, recommends that introverts prepare for interviews by rehearsing common questions in order to boost their confidence. She said that it is vital to “tell a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. And the end is the most important; it reflects the outcome or result of a project.” Another way to boost self-confidence for job interviews is to “start talking about yourself as if you’re already on the team,” said Amanda Porter, former head of talent at GSV Ventures.

The seventh lesson is to understand that interviewers want candidates to succeed.

“Adjust that mindset since the interviewers want you to get the offer,” said Leah Frank, senior manager of programs and internships at Bain & Company, and former recruiter at McKinsey & Company “They’re not sitting there aiming to reject you. That would be a waste of their time. They are rooting for you.”

“To land your dream offer, practice mock interviews extensively, connect the dots between you and the company, take ownership in your career, be authentic and unapologetically yourself, lean on your recruiter, build your self-confidence, and understand that interviewers want you to succeed,” Eckstein concluded.