Five Winning Interview Tips
Welcome to The Gov Geeks. I'm Javier and today we're going to review five winning interview tips to set you apart from the crowd and help you land your target government job. Let's get to it!
By now you've heard and applied all of the typical interview advice. Make sure you show up early, have extra copies of your resume, and be sure to dress for success. However, even seasoned interviewees can brush up on some of their approaches.
So, we are pleased to share these five winning interview tips that are sure to be of great value in your next interview:
1. Be prepared - have a plan going into this
2. Consider your connections - your reach is greater than you realize
3. Take notes - give the responses they want to hear
4. Ask the right questions - don't waste your opportunities
5. Demonstrate your capabilities - show them your value
…and for good measure, here's a bonus:
6. Be positive! Be the light in the darkness :-)
Okay. Let's look at these more closely. First off, be prepared. Research the interviewers, any publications or news articles related to them, as well as anything on the agency or division itself. Go beyond the general 'about' section, look at their budget justification to congress, see if there are any GAO reviews, and keep an eye out for anything of public interest. Be sure to connect these items with your past experiences and accomplishments as well. This strategy demonstrates your interest in the subjects that your potential colleagues have as well. Plus, it also shows that you can add value to their work. At this stage, it's clear you can do the work (they wouldn't be speaking with you if they didn't agree you're qualified for the position ) now you can show you're a good fit for the organization (culture, mission, etc.). Being prepared will help establish rapport and trust amongst colleagues and teammates.
Tip number two, consider your connections. Use resources like LinkedIn and your own professional network to see if you are aware of any individuals who have an already established relationship with the organization or even better, the interviewers themselves. Remember, you're sitting in that interview chair because they saw something that piqued their interest - - you have value. Now, connect that with agency specific insights. You'd be amazed at how much you have in common. Talk to supportive friends and colleagues about where you're interviewing. Ask if anyone in their network knows anyone there. Your connections may surprise you. It's a small world- especially in Government. They key is to learn what the hiring managers are looking for so you can display how you meet their needs. Be sure to identify your experiences and accomplishments that are suited to the agency. Show them you can be a valued and contributing member of the team.
Next, take notes in the interview. They'll have prepared questions right in front of them. It's easy for them to read from the paper and for you to get lost in your responses. Taking notes will help you answer their questions fully and help you balance the time you dedicate in your reply. You don't want to spend five minutes talking about the least important part of the question. Try this- tell them, 'I value what you're looking for and don't want to miss anything. I hope you don't mind me taking notes.' They'll appreciate you're dedication and feel validated by getting the response they're looking for.
Tip number four, ask the right questions. At the start of the interview, the interviewer typically jumps right into the questions or has a casual conversation with the interviewee. Don't waste this time. They need to get to know you and feel comfortable with you. You're building trust here. Take the opportunity to create a decent rapport and ask what they are looking for in this position. A simple direction from the interviewers will allow you the chance to shape your responses towards their particular needs and interests. This also allows them to identify a more qualified candidate because it gives you the chance to speak to their needs rather than having them tease out the information that they are looking for. You're not exactly a mind reader and they shouldn't feel like they're pulling responses out. Plus, they'll appreciate your genuineness. With a firm understanding on both sides you can openly discuss what you can contribute and they can share what they're looking for.
Number five, demonstrate your capabilities. As we've discussed in earlier videos, you need to quantify and qualify your experience. Show impact! When responding to questions don't simply give yes or no answers or even short summary responses. Instead, directly answer the question and then, offer up specific examples. Use instances where your accomplishments really demonstrate your capacity for the work and the public. Describe actions using quantifiers such as numbers or dollars. Here's how. If you manage a project or activity, ask yourself what the dollar amount involved was. What about the timetable? How many stakeholders did you have to deal with? Were they senior in the organization? And more specifically what is it that you did to bring about success? What was the impact? Did the agency improve response times, efficiency, accuracy? Have a few of these ready to go. Connect these great responses to the requirements. Demonstrate you understand the work and have the know how to help. The acronym STAR is a good way to remember this. Situation. Task. Actions. Results. Be sure to address each in your responses.
And finally- the bonus interview tip that will really hit it home for you… be positive! Make sure you maintain an upbeat attitude about your experiences and the potential for what may come… if they can convince you to join them. No one wants to bring on a team member that they then have to micromanage or deal with along the way. A part from smiling, maintaining eye contact, and listening empathetically, also demonstrate how you maintained this attitude in your previous organizations. Hiring managers want to know you are easy to get along with. Plus, be sure to send an individual email to each of your interviewers and anyone that helped coordinate the opportunity. Be sincere, appreciative, and brief.
Your interview - from scheduling to thank you messages - should demonstrate how you can help alleviate burdens. You should be a breath of fresh air. The answer to their frustrations … and someone they're excited to work with. Together, you can meet the agency's mission and truly serve the greater good. After all, isn't that why we chose public service?
So there we have it. Six strategies that will help you ace your interview. Think through each of them, and apply them with care. Remember, you're sitting in this interview for a reason. You've obviously shown them that you're capable. Now they just want to make sure that you'll be a good fit.
You can do this!
If you liked this video and found it helpful, make sure you give it a thumbs up. Share it with your friends and colleagues if you feel it can help them. Of course, definitely subscribe for more strategies on professional development in the public sector. More great videos and content are coming soon but we'd love to keep this conversation going. Head over to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to interact with us. Also, go to our website www.thegovgeeks.com to sign up for our upcoming courses where you’ll get more in-depth strategies and engaging resources. We're here for you and want you to do well!
Thank you so much for watching. We can’t wait to hear about your successes. Leave a comment below to help us create content that best helps you. At The Gov Geeks, we're all about Service for Public Servants!