So, you want the job. You’ve sent in your resume, wrote up a cover letter or filled out the application, and now you’ve been called up: THE INTERVIEW. Congratulations!
The interview is more than just a chance to show off your skills. It’s a chance to show your enthusiasm and interest in the company and to really learn more about the company and the people who work there.
In my experience as a corporate college recruiter, I’ve found that in addition to the interviewer knowing the candidate has the basic qualifications for the job – these 3 factors can make the critical difference in getting to a “YES, YOU’RE HIRED!” outcome from the interview:
- Whether or not they felt they connected with the candidate they interviewed.
- If they think that the candidate would be a good fit for the company and easy to work with.
- If they sense that the candidate is genuinely interested and enthusiastic about the job and the company.
With those in mind, I’m sharing with you 8 statements and questions that will help you to both convey your interest and fit for the company and help you make a connection with the person interviewing you.
As you read the list below, remember that you want to be actively engaged and asking questions throughout the interview, not just at the end. The bonus of asking questions throughout the interview (where they fit in and are relevant, of course!) is that, rather than a one-sided Q&A session, you’ll have an actual conversation with the interviewer – which is exactly what you’re going for! If you can shift the tone of the interview from just question and answer to an engaged discussion, the whole interview will flow, feel less formal, and help you create more of a connection with your interviewer.
1. Tell me more about your background. How long have you been at the company, what is your role, and what do you love about your job and this company?
Interviewers can always tell if you are truly curious about them and the company they work for, and people always love talking about themselves. With this question, you’ll show that you’re both interested in the person who is interviewing you and that you want to know more about why they like the company.
2. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports employees in [XX]. That area in particular is so important to me. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts you?
You just scored BIG points for mentioning that you did research on the company prior to the interview, and you pointed out something specific that you learned in your research and that you’d like to know more about. This shows your overall interest and diligence in doing your research and tells them you care about the company values and culture and finding a great fit.
3. I can really see myself fitting in here and adding so much value. [Follow with some notes about the company culture/why it’s a match for you, including 1-2 specific skills you know you can bring that will add value.]
This statement gives the interviewer confidence that you see yourself as both fitting in with and bringing value to the company. You’re planting the seed for them that “Yes! You are a great fit!” When you cap off the statement by naming a couple of skills that will benefit them and the company, you help to solidify this belief for them. This is also an opportunity to show that you were listening to what they said earlier about their experience at the company, company culture and values, and the skills that they are looking for in a candidate.
4. If hired for this role, how can I make an immediate impact for you? What are your most pressing and urgent needs? I want to be able to understand them and be thinking about solutions even before I start!
This shows you are thinking about how you can truly add value by putting yourselves in the company’s shoes and asking what would benefit them most. This question will give you information about what they are looking for in the person they hire, and, as a follow up, you can share with them the skills you have that can help them with their unique challenges and needs.
5. I’m already thinking about the ways I can dig into this role, learn more about the industry, and begin to contribute.
This shows that you already see yourself in the role and at the company and that you’re thinking ahead about all the great things you can do for them! How could they NOT hire you with an attitude like that?!
6. Earlier you mentioned [XX] is a challenge or opportunity, I’d love to hear more about that – specifically [xxxxxxx].
This statement shows that you’re listening and that you’ve picked up on the importance of either a challenge or opportunity the company is facing or that you’d face in the role and that you would like to learn more. **Bonus points if you can follow up after their answer by showing how your skills and background will help them with this challenge.**
7. I can’t wait to hear back from you on the next steps in the process! I’m so excited about this opportunity and the skills I can bring to this role, and I know I would be a great fit for the company.
This is a great closing statement. You want to end the interview with confidence…even if you’re not sure if you did well. Muster up all your confidence to end the interview with a firm handshake and a statement that indicates that you know you’re a great fit and that you can’t wait to hear back. **Bonus points if you remember the interviewer’s name and use it as you’re thanking them for their time.**
8. Based on our interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to be a strong candidate for this role?
A great closing question. You can learn so much from this question alone. Some interviewers will tell you if there are areas they are concerned about – and that is actually a great thing! If you can learn those things before you leave the interview, you have a chance to discuss with them why they shouldn’t be worried about those things. But if you leave the interview without asking this and they do have lingering concerns, you’ll likely not be considered for the job instead of having a chance to talk them through. The other possibility is that they’ll tell you they think you are a great fit for the job, and you’ll just have gotten some great information (not to mention a boost of confidence!) about how you did.
Remember that the interview is more than just a chance to show off your skills. It’s an opportunity to connect with your interviewer, share your enthusiasm and interest in the company and your potential role, and learn more about the company and its culture. When coupled with preparation and confidence, these eight statements and questions will help you do just that!