Interviewing can often feel so… unnatural. Figuring out what they might ask, and the best possible response, can be unnerving.

You want the job, and they need to find the right person to fit the position. The stakes are high on both sides, and the interview is the biggest opportunity to make a good impression.

A Common Interview Mistake Made By Interviewees

Susan, a leader in the technology industry, recently shared about an interview that lasted just under an hour. “I was only able to ask him three questions,” she said. “He gave such intricate details about his training and skills that we didn’t have time to get to know him.”

Clearly a talented designer, Susan wanted to get to know more about him. Unwilling to interrupt him, she quietly hoped he’d wrap up his thoughts so they could move on.

She wanted the interview to be more of a conversation; less of a detailed list of his accomplishments.

“We knew he was talented from his resume,” Susan said. “But I don’t know a thing about what got him into this industry or what he hopes to accomplish here.”

Get Invited Back For A Second Interview

In addition to not having a chance to get to know him, she never got a chance to share about their current projects, or what she’s looking for in the person who would fill the position.

With limited time and resources, Susan and the hiring team had to make a decision based on that limited time together. Ultimately, they didn’t invite him back for a second interview, and neither side had a chance to get to know each other.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Don’t let it happen to you, or those you care about .

7 Steps to Getting Past The Job Interview

Knowing how to master an interview through some simple tweaks could mean the difference between destroying or discovering opportunities.

The following are the top 7 steps to take before, during and after the interview:

  1. Research. Beyond the title of the position you’re applying for, find out the skill sets they’re looking for. Learn about the company culture—their vision, mission, and values, along with the story behind the business and the leaders interviewing you.
  2. Breathe. Remember, they’re bringing you in for an interview because they believe you could be a good fit. This is your opportunity to show them that, so stay calm by focusing on breathing.
  3. Express Your Passion. Allow your inspired self to show up and share your enthusiasm for the industry, work and for the company.
  4. Listen And Repeat. After the question is asked, repeat back what you heard them say as succinctly as possible, and then answer. Doing so demonstrates you’re listening—a valuable skill at every level within the organization.
  5. Ask Questions. Remember, this is your opportunity to learn about the company culture, expectations, and the people who work there. Create a list of questions before you arrive, and then make note of questions that come up during the interview.
  6. Pause. Once you’ve answered their question (ideally as brieflybut completely as possible), stop talking. If they want to know more, they’ll ask follow on questions. Or, you can simply ask, “Does that answer the question?”
  7. Make Eye Contact. This isn’t true in all cultures, but in America, when you make eye contact, you not only allow a chance for human connection, but you also demonstrate self confidence. When you divert your eyes from the people you’re speaking with, discomfort is the natural outcome. If making eye contact is uncomfortable for you, practice eye gazing with someone you love and trust.   
  8. Follow Up. Check in to ensure you understand next steps.
  9. Thank You. Send a note (hand- written is best) thanking them for the opportunity.

The goal of the interview process is to give both sides a chance to get to know each other. The quality of your questions, sincere interest in hearing the answers, and your ability to succinctly convey your passion and dedication for the work sets you up for success.

Have You Ever Fumbled An Interview?  

Do you have a story, a question, or an idea about interviewing? Was there something that went great (or something you completely messed up)? It’s a joy to hear your stories and your ideasplease share yours in the comments below.

If you found this post helpful, please feel free to share it.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister has been helping companies and leaders create a culture of trust for more than 15 years. Help your team reach its highest potential at