To avoid the deer in headlights look and instead appear calm and confident, there are a few key pointers to keep in mind to not only win over your interviewer but also land that coveted job.
Since the interview isn't only about the information you provide but how you deliver it, in many instances this question is the end-all, be-all of the interview, the consummate peak of the process. Follow these simple pointers and you too may be on the road to "Hiresville."
1. Succinctly and enthusiastically restate your qualifications. In the delivery of your message, it's not only what you say but how you say it. Less is more: Be succinct, clear and convincing. State with confidence your ability to do the job by pointing out three solid qualifications and relevant experiences you already possess.
At this point in the interview you've probably already pointed out your ability to do the job, but repetition is key. Highlight a few key experiences and skills that are on point with the job description and precisely what they're looking for in a candidate. Think about what they want to hear: Make it easy for them to pull the trigger and extend a job offer. Fast ramp-up time with a quick assimilation; you already come to the job with a book of business contacts. And if you're a boomerang (former employee), you can mention you already know the ins and outs of the company, thereby pointing again to an easy assimilation.
And if you don't already possess the skills and experience they're looking for, bridge the gap by stating something such as, "My skills in public relations, such as effective communications and relationships working with the media, are transferable to this job as a communications manager working with the media."
2. Highlight your soft skills. Hiring managers often interview two candidates who seem identical on paper, but then award the position to the job seeker they liked more.
In other instances hiring managers may make the decision to hire a specific candidate because they already had a contact who knew the person, and again, that contact liked working with the candidate and found him or her efficient. Be that team player they need to hire.
You're filling a need on their team by being that go-to guy or gal who demonstrates leadership abilities, is a knowledge expert, collaborative, helpful and who plays well in the sandbox. Show your ability to work well with others by referencing a concise example. Also, showing your passion always helps. Convey your message with verve.
In addition, it certainly helps to connect with your interviewers on through small talk, such as by chatting about something like your local sports teams. Present the whole package – not only do you have the expertise and technical prowess to do the job, but you're also easy to work with and you have fire in your belly to do the job.
3. Bring it back to them. Eyes over here. No wait, over there. There you go: it's there. It's all about them.
They're looking for the best candidate to fill the spot, lest us not forget, even though your ultimate goal is to get the job. Let's repeat: It's all about them (or at least make them think it is).
You can recap by saying something like, "It sounds like you're looking for an ambitious self-starter who thrives in a fast paced environment with little to no hand-holding. I live for this! I've done it and proven myself, I'm that guy to fill your pressing needs! I can start in two weeks."
Overall, by connecting the dots and being concise and repetitive with your relevant skills and experience – that you already communicated earlier in the interview – the decision to hire you should be a no-brainer to the potential employer. The question then really becomes why wouldn't they hire you?
Vicki Salemi is the author of Big Career in the Big City and creator, producer and host of Score That Job. This New York City-based career expert and public speaker possesses more than 15 years of corporate experience in recruiting and human resources. She coaches college grads individually with an intense Job Search Boot Camp, writes and edits the MediaJobsDaily blog on Mediabistro, and conducts interviews as a freelance journalist with celebrities and notable names. BlogHer named her one of the country's top 25 career and business women bloggers worth reading!