I’m a people person. Regardless of my occupation at any given time, my entire career has been focused on interviewing and meeting with people. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity every day to build connections that help others land their dream job.
With more than 12 years of recruiting experience across industries (including tech, healthcare, and retail), I’ve conducted thousands of interviews at the individual contributor and leadership levels. Over the past four years here at Autodesk, I’ve focused on UX design roles, from early career to VP.
As part of the interview process, after a candidate completes final interviews, I meet with panelists to gather feedback. I’ve identified several themes and boiled that feedback down to my top five tips for interview success:
Interview tip #1: Balance “we” and “me”
This is my favorite tip! Interviewers struggle to move candidates forward when candidates don’t clarify “we” work (collaboration) vs. “me” work (their individual contributions).
At Autodesk, we highly value collaboration and partnership, so we look for strengths in this area during interviews. But, if your responses don’t clearly articulate both the we (team, cross-functional partners, stakeholders, company, product) and the me (what you specifically did, your approach, your thinking, your impact), the interviewer may struggle with a clear decision, because your responses lack clarity about your individual contributions, thinking, and impact.
Consider the following example:
The second response is stronger because it balances “we” with “me.”
Interview tip #2: Reflect on your work
Many companies conduct behavioral-based interviews, where they look for examples of your work to support your answers. In advance of an interview, take time to reflect on some of your biggest accomplishments.
Consider the following:
- What did you specifically do to contribute to the success of the project?
- Who did you partner with? How did you partner?
- If you have a project that failed, what happened, what did you learn, how has it shaped your approach today?
Through this reflection, you’ll have several examples ready to draw from during your interview.
Interview tip #3: Consider the 4 Rs – review, research, recent, relevant
Take time to re-read the job description. If you’re in the final stages of the interview process, review any notes you took during earlier conversations.
Do your research on the company and its products/services, mission, customers, and culture. If you know the name of your interviewer(s), check out their LinkedIn profile(s). Understanding their experience will help you better understand the lens through which they are interviewing you.
Take all this information and align it with your recent and relevant experience, so you can respond with examples of your work that are most aligned to the role you’re seeking. Don’t mistake your proudest moment of work for the best example. If it doesn’t connect with what’s required of the role, the team will likely struggle to find alignment with your candidacy and the position.
Interview tip #4: Who are you?
Maybe you’re hearing a chorus from the rock band The Who, or maybe you’re still pondering the question. Wherever you find yourself with the answer, interviewers appreciate a quick intro that connects who you are with how you show up at work. I’m not talking about reciting your resume or career history, or anything overly personal. But consider things you enjoy doing, your values, your approach to life, and how that shows up in your work.
If you’re naturally adept at building connections and that’s thematic in everything you do, highlight how that’s helped you in your job. If you’re an adventure seeker or risk-taker in your personal life, create a connection for how that benefits your team, the product, or your projects at the office.
Interview tip #5: Make it easy, stand out
At any given time, recruiters have hundreds of resumes to review. This isn’t their only job responsibility, so you can imagine the need for a clear, quick review for the most critical information. That’s why it’s important to keep your resume clear, relevant, and simple. There are many great (and free!) templates available online. No one is judging if you use a template – the main ask is for quick and straightforward information. And these days, with the increase in remote work, it’s also helpful to include the city where you reside on your resume. If your line of work allows for a portfolio, be sure to link to it when applying – and don’t forget the password! We want to review your work and include you in the candidate pool, and an accessible portfolio is critical in that process.
As a candidate, the best things you can do are review the role and assess if you’re truly aligned, do your research, and show up professionally yet authentically. Remember, this is a two-way process. While the team is looking for alignment with your candidacy and the needs of the role and team, you should also confirm if this is the right role, team, and company for you and your career goals. Following the above tips may have you well-positioned with options – and maybe even multiple offers. Good luck!