Expand Your Interview Skills

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Sad but true, job interviewing never seems to get easier. Every interview is different. You meet new people with new personalities and unique needs, you work hard to sell yourself and position your skills as appropriate for the job, and the third degree throws you a curve ball. Through it all you present a sparkling personality. Exhausting!

There are ways though to conquer the process with less stress. With a little prep you can nail the interview and impress upon the recruiter that you are the best cyber security candidate for the job.

Below are tips to help you sail through an interview with more confidence.

Practice make perfect

Review the job description that was posted by the hiring company. Make a list of the qualifications and skills they seek. Compare your experience to their requirements and note your appropriate strengths. Be prepared to emphasize your skills that appear relevant to the position. Strong responses to questions need to be concise and specific using relevant illustrations of experience with achieved results.

For example, if a job description states a requirement for leadership skills, you know you will be asked about this. Practice your responses.

While it is important to be well-prepared don’t forget to listen closely during the interview to the questions being asked. Even the most prepared responses will sound hollow if they do not answer clearly the questions.

Almost every interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Don’t miss this opportunity to shine. Gather your thoughts ahead of time; be ready to impress with the research you’ve done on the company, the individuals you’re interviewing with and your interest in the position.

Build a connection with the interviewers

Building a rapport during your interview will serve you well. When the interview appointment is made, ask who you will be meeting with. Do a bit of research on them ahead of time so you know their role in the company. Google them. Check out their LinkedIn profile. Get familiar with names so you can address people appropriately.

Work to make a connection with your interviewers. Look them in the eye, sit up straight, be attentive and smile. It’s also appropriate to make light conversation. You can compliment them on a family photo or office décor. While it’s important to maintain professionalism, it’s also okay to show your personality. Companies tend to hire people they like and who they feel will fit into the company culture.

 Do your homework and let it show

You can find out a lot about a company from their website. But don’t stop there. Do a general and thorough online search to find articles about their business and company leaders. Check out the company social media profiles too. When the interviewer asks, “What do you know about us?” you should be prepared to talk about subjects that are important to you, relevant to the position, and hopefully can translate to your accomplishments.

You might say something like, “I read that you implemented new software last year to track inventory. I am quite proficient in that platform and used it to achieve great results in my last position.”

Get ready the day before

Waiting until the morning of your interview to scan your wardrobe for a professional outfit will not serve you well. Make sure ahead of time that every garment (and shoes!) are clean and pressed. Have everything laid out and ready to pull on.

Print out extra copies of your resume. Have them tucked into a clean folder or placed in a portfolio. Pull up directions to the location of your interview and make sure you know where you are going. If you have any doubts at all, do a practice run to the location ahead of time.

The early bird gets the worm

It shouldn’t have to be said that you need to be on time for your interview, which really means arrive early. Plan on arriving 10 – 15 minutes ahead of time. Use those minutes to sit in your car, gather your thoughts and review your answers/questions. You can also enter the building a bit early to visit the restroom and give yourself the once over in a mirror.

Take a deep breath

As you wait for the interviewer to arrive, take a deep breath, give yourself a pep talk and call on your confidence. Your body language is a strong communication mechanism so stand tall and hold your head high. As you meet the interviewer, look her in the eye, offer your hand and introduce yourself. Getting calmly through this first encounter will set the tone for the remainder of the meeting.

 Don’t forget to follow up

The follow up to an interview is very important. This is a terrific opportunity to recap your qualifications, restate your interest in the position and thank all interviewers for their time. It is a good way to leave a strong impression. If you haven’t heard from the company in the timeframe set by them to make a decision, it is alright to send an email enquiring about the status of their search. If you come across an article that might of interest to the hiring team, feel free to forward to them. This is just another way to show you are on the ball and have a genuine interest in their company.

If by chance you do not get the position, remain positive and professional. This job may not have worked out but there could be a better fit in the near future. You should let your recruiter know you are interested in upcoming opportunities.

A search for the perfect cyber position is an on-going process. After any interview take the time to review how it went and note where you can make improvements. Hopefully these tips will have prepared you to present yourself as a confident, capable candidate. No interview is a waste of time. It gives you the chance to hone how you sell yourself and you will be ready when the job of your dreams comes along.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling.

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CyberSecJobs.com is a veteran-owned career site and job fair company for professionals and students seeking careers in the cyber security community. As a job seeker on CyberSecJobs.com you can: Search for a new job to find your next career. Best practices search tips: -Start with a more general search at first, and then refine the search as necessary via the Search and Browse tabs on the search results page. -Make sure you use all the relevant search terms for the type of position you want. If you’re not sure check with others in your network, professional associations or read through job postings. -Choose a centrally located zip code and use a zip code radius. Searching on cities is a challenge because a company may use “Northern Virginia” or “Washington DC metro” as the city for a job in Arlington, VA.

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