If you want to stand out from other candidates in the job market, you have to be strategic about your answers. Not only is the interview a chance to showcase your achievements, but how you present yourself is sure to make an impact (both good and bad).

After interviewing thousands of job seekers, we have nine essential tips for crafting strategic interview answers to questions that are sure to come your way and make you stand out from the crowd. If you have an online interview, visit our article, “Acing the Virtual Interview, 7 Must-Have Tips in a COVID-19 World.

The average in-person interview lasts approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

#1 Give a firm handshake.

If the interviewer extends their hand, shake it for a moment, and know this is your first opportunity to leave a lasting impression. According to LinkedIn, the meanings behind a handshake are many. A weak one conveys timidness, while too firm a grip might indicate arrogance. Studies show you want to opt for something in between and look at the interviewer as you introduce yourself in any business situation. Also, it’s polite to shake the interviewer’s hand again after the meeting and express your interest or non-interest in the position. 

#2 The “what’s in it for us strategic interview question.” 

Every interviewer has one key question, or if they don’t ask it, you can bet they’re thinking, “What’s in it for us?” Meaning, how does the company benefit from hiring you? 

The key point you want to make with the interviewer is that hiring you offers them great value. To achieve this mindset, emphasize your skillset and do so with confidence. Central to the question “what’s in it for us?” is the question “How does this candidate add value to our company or team?” Discuss your accomplishments and strengths in ways that underscore your contributions and their value.

Suppose you are stumbling over your answers or have difficulties recalling ways you were able to solve problems in similar positions. In that case, the interviewer may doubt how you will perform if given the job. 

#3 I want to work for your company because….

You may already know why you want to work in your chosen field or why specific industry interests you. However, to connect with a particular hiring manager, you’ll also need to focus on why you want to work for their company. Find something about this organization that inspires you and build it into your interview answers. You can achieve this by reviewing a company’s mission, values, and about us statements. Following up on these principles, you could say, “This position at (name of company) is an opportunity for me to….” 

No company knowledge could mean no job offer. 47% of interviewers don’t give jobs to candidates who don’t do their homework.

#4 Know your accomplishments.

Anyone can list skills in an interview, and many people do. However, the hiring manager is more likely to be impressed by tangible achievements. This question also provides insight into a candidate’s behavior and personality while also speaking to core values and work ethics.   To prepare for this question, choose three to five major wins in your career to date that are relevant to the position for which you are interviewing. 

#5 Practice storytelling.

Human brains remember stories more easily than lists of facts or data. Practice telling the story of each of your accomplishments in three sentences or less. Focus on the challenge you faced, the action you took, and the results of that act. In storytelling, this is called the elevator pitch and allows you to get right to the point rather than rambling and losing the interviewer’s interest. 

#7 Go beyond your resume.

While the interviewer may ask specific questions about your resume, everything in your career to date is fair game as long as it helps demonstrate your value and passion for your work. Use non-resume accomplishments strategically to help create a fuller picture of your abilities and drive. It could be a hobby, public speaking, or other work-related interests. 

#8 Plan your questions.

An interview is your chance to find out if the job is right for you. Think about the significant factors that dissatisfied you in previous employment and craft tactful questions that help you determine whether this opportunity offers an improvement over previous positions. There are plenty of resources to reference, including this one from thebalancecareers.com to help you brainstorm relevant questions that show your interest in a job. 

#9 Identify the next steps. 

Don’t leave anyone hanging. Before you leave an interview, or if it’s virtual, hang up, make sure you and the interviewer are clear on the next steps, including: 

  • When can you expect to hear back?
  • What is the best way to communicate?
  • Should you send references?
  • Can you connect on LinkedIn?

If you’re looking for your next career move in the energy industry, contact the FootBridge Company today. Our recruiters help professionals connect with the oil and gas opportunities available now.