5 Surefire Ways To Nail An Interview, As Told By A Hiring Manager

by Connor Relyea
Nightcrawler/Open Road Films

Interviewing for a job is a nerve-wracking, unfair process.

The employer holds all the power, you have either 16 bars to show off your glittering vocals or a specific amount of time to convince someone to hire you, and it feels like the odds are stacked against you.

Or, at least, it can definitely seem that way.

As we go out into job markets that can be difficult to navigate, it is important to understand that, as a potential employee, you have as much power as anyone else.

I have learned a few job-hunting tips from my time as a manager at my university, where I had to sit through several hiring interviews and work with staff to interview students looking for day jobs.

Here are five tips that won’t absolutely get you the job, but can definitely help you get closer to gainful employment. 

1. 10 Block Rule (AKA Exude Positivity)

It is in everyone’s best interest for you to have a “10 block rule.” Within a 10-block radius of the interview or audition (whichever fits your personal thoughts on this article), you must exude positivity.

No matter what happens, you must be the sun, radiating warmth to everyone that your light blesses.

If you have a positive attitude, not only will you feel better about yourself, but your potential employer will respond kindly.

I once suggested hiring a staff member because of a great conversation we had before the formal interview.

This interviewee was positive, gracious, funny and kind during our entire conversation.

Having that positive attitude really helped those of us who considered hiring her realize she would be a great fit with the rest of the staff.

2. It’s not always your résumé

Sometimes prospective employers aren’t entirely concerned with your résumé.

Of course, this tip isn’t for most post-graduate jobs (although if you want to go after that big engineering job with just one summer at H&M on your résumé, by all means, shoot for the stars).

Sometimes for day jobs, like the event production staff for which I hired, we didn’t strictly scrutinize résumés. It was an entry-level position and we knew most candidates wouldn't have extensive experience.

We liked when people were able to take experiences and skills from their past jobs and apply them to situations for this role. The skills people brought to the table interested us most.

3. Have a personality

Be yourself and show the people in the room who you are.

If you like to dance and wear leather headbands that have inspiring messages etched into them, show that through your interview.

Whenever I met someone in an interview, I wanted to see what he or she was like and get an idea of his or her personality. As a prospective manager, I needed to know whether the person’s personality would fit with the rest of the staff.

Don’t be afraid to show who you are to an employer. As long as you maintain a professional attitude while in the interview, showing a little personality will be beneficial to your potential of getting the job and your employer getting to know a little bit more about you.

4. Own the room

When you walk into the interview room, own it, no matter what.

When walking onstage for an audition, an actor has to embody confidence. If I walked on for an audition, showing the director that I knew I would mess up the 16 bars I prepared because I only just learned the song before walking in the room, I would not get cast.

Confidence gives you the ability to sell what it is you’re saying or doing, and an employer will believe in your credibility.

When I see someone walk into an interview room with confidence, I know he or she has the ability to convince me he or she is right for the job.

5. We are here for you

Some people think that the person interviewing them is out to get them. It can seem like the interviewer is trying to make you fail, but this is never the case unless you are interviewing with Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada."

Generally, the interviewer or potential employer wants you to be the one he or she hires. He or she brought you in to interview for a reason, and is in that room for you.

Try not to feel intimidated or like your future is in the hands of someone you might not know.

When I interview for jobs, I like to think of this quote from Natalie Dormer, actress from the HBO series "Game of Thrones":

"You should always bear in mind when you’re walking into an audition room that the writer and the director, they have a problem. They have a problem that they need to be solved. "They don’t know who’s going to play this role. You want to be the solution to this problem. That’s what you’re aiming for, that’s what they’re aiming for. Don’t walk into a room thinking that you’re going to hit a wall of negativity straight away. Everyone in the room wants you to be the answer."

This advice is absolutely applicable to job interviews in general.

Remember these words and know that we want you in that room to hopefully be the answer to our problem.