How to Own It In Your Next Interview

Amanda Pena
Amanda Pena is one of those bridge and tunnel people that frequents the city for her job and the Chipotle on every other block. She hopes to be the next Cheryl Strayed and touch people's lives through her writing and/or find the best prosciutto deli in Manhattan.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about interviewing was from Seventeen Magazine’s former Editor In Chief, Ann Shoket. She sat down with Levo League through a webcam interview and provided her audience with some of the best interview tips, one of them being, “Sit at the edge of your seat.”

I have done that in every one of my interviews to date, and it has made all the difference in my confidence, “About Me” delivery, demeanor, posture, you name it. Navigating the interview waters can be tricky. One size does not fit all, and many forget that. It’s like your cover letter; you tweak it to fit the position you are applying for. Well, interviews work just the same and if you cookie-cutter your interview, the more obvious and transparent it is that you did not differentiate this interview from the one you were in previously. Here are 4 quick tips to help you own it in your next interview.


1. Do your research

This isn’t a date where you’re fearful of having the other person find out that you stalk their Facebook profile every day and know what picture they were tagged in on May 9th of 2012. Interviewers want you to know the ins and outs of their company. Read their mission statement, get to know their CEO, check out their blog, and what recent press releases they may have been mentioned in. Scroll through their social media if they have any, or check in on some recent news within their industry. Organically weave what you know about them into your conversation.


2. Rehearse your elevator pitch

I used to dread the, “Tell me about yourself” question. That was until I developed a quick elevator pitch that summed up my experience, my passions, and my reasoning as to why I was the perfect fit for this job. Now, my elevator pitch is seamless and delivers well. Elevator pitches are just that – short and simple. They last around 30 seconds and should answer the question, “What’s in it for them?” Get to the meat of why you’re there, and get there fast.


3. Ask questions

This is an often overlooked part of the interview where interviewees forget that they have the power to show a little bit of their personality and start a meaningful conversation. Asking strong and direct questions will show the interviewer that you did some work beforehand and are interested to hear more about they have to say. It also lets you steer the conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask about the company dynamic and work environment as well. The ball is in your court when you’re the one asking the questions, so use that moment wisely.


4. Smile

Do not underestimate the power of a smile and a positive attitude. Interviewers get it. They know how stressful the interview process can be, but to be quite frank, that is not their concern, so don’t let it get the best of you. Smile, be positive, make small talk, have fun with it. It’s refreshing to see someone put a positive spin on a difficult situation. Grinning and bearing it is not faking it, but showing the interviewer that you can handle this gracefully without letting a drip of sweat fall from your forehead. (Just don’t open your underarms. They do know that all of the sweat is hiding there.)


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