In less time than it will take you to read this blog, you can hack your way into a successful interview, but it takes the right focus. If you have the right focus, you can own the interview, and (more importantly) the road that is your career. Realizing that being interviewed for a job is a nerve-racking experience, you should keep in mind that the interviewer might be as nervous as you are and also has the same 30, 45, or 60 minutes to gather as much information as you do.
Hiring decisions are crucial for any company, and hiring managers are expected to select the right person out of hundreds of applicants in a very short period of time. In this hectic process, it’s easy for candidates to blur together in the hiring manager’s mind.
So how can you stand out in a competitive and increasingly fast-moving field? You have to maximize your interview time.
If we’ve met in-person, or if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve likely recommended Tim Ferriss’s books and podcast. I love the podcast in particular. Tim is the ultimate life hacker; he deconstructs world-class performers quickly.
Let’s stay focused!
One of the key takeaways I had from his 2011 Ted Talk is that “The common characteristic of the people who had the most time and the highest income is the ability to single task.”
That brings me to how to hack your next interview.
The 5 Point Hack
Before the interview, synthesize all your skills and strengths down to a concise 5 Point Hack. Focus on the qualities that best suit the position and company, and formulate them in a way that takes no longer than 60 seconds for you to present. Call it your elevator pitch, but an elevator pitch isn’t static. Think about it as an opening statement that you make and then keep coming back to throughout the interview.
For example, imagine you’re interviewing for a job as a Full Stack Developer. Your 5 Point Hack might be:
1. Three years of experience with a competitive company. 2. A massive Github that shows you do more than just your job. 3. Previous experience in coaching developers. 4. Fluency in three languages or libraries. 5. How you perform in an Agile environment.
Outline these five points to your interviewer and continue mentioning them throughout the process. This will direct her attention to your core strengths, helping her remember them and you.
What would you share in your 60 seconds?
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