Interviews have the power to solidify or rule you out as a candidate. You can have the perfect resume and a wonderful phone interview, but a have a less than successful face-to-face interview. Nerves, coupled with the inevitably intrusive questions that beg for difficult answers, can make us ramble, fumble over our words, and hope the interviewer sees the potential underneath the less than accurate representation of ourselves. But we’re here to help you. Here are some tips for presenting your best self in an interview.

Develop & tailor your story.

Your story- how got into SBA lending, what you’ve learned from your supervisors, your achievements and failings, your personal goals and dreams- is unique to you and learning to tell it well gives you a distinct advantage. It helps the interviewer understand you better and will help them to see how you might fit into an established SBA program or be an asset in a new program.

Effectively tailoring your story to the position for which you are applying is a powerful and effective interviewing skill. It’s important to focus on leadership if you’re interviewing for an SBA credit manager position, for example. Similarly, sharing your success stories and how you’ve helped your department grow is vital for an experienced SBA BDO. Telling of your accomplishments in similar positions gives your interviewer confidence that you can be successful in the one you are interviewing for.

 Be prepared.

Do your research on the company and the position for which you are applying. Find out about their SBA program and important people that lead their department. Learn about your interviewer if you can; what you learn about your interviewer (for instance, their specialties) can be fundamental in choosing your questions. Be sure to practice interviewing and be aware of your body language; record your interviews to evaluate later or have someone sit in to observe and take notes. It’s also important to plan ahead. Deciding what you are going to wear, planning your route and travel time to the location, and a having a neat copy of your resume can be done in advance to save you from unnecessary and avoidable stress.

Ask effective questions and answer proficiently.

It’s important that you know enough about the organization you’re interviewing with to know and be clear about what you want and what you offer them as a potential employee. By the time you get to meet with someone face-to-face you should have a basic understanding of what they want in an employee.  Asking questions allows you the opportunity to clarify and determine whether it’s a good fit for both parties. Be thoughtful and focused in your inquiries.

Behavioral questions are very likely in first interviews. In fact, there are probably several that you have been asked in every interview you’ve attended. Anticipating those questions and preparing good, clear answers will allow you the confidence and clarity of thought that is often lacking when you have to think on your feet. Another contributing factor to answering questions well is reviewing your research on the company and position requirements.

The SBA Advisors team is here to help you in your job search. We work diligently on behalf of our clients to find candidates that most suit the SBA jobs available. If you have questions about what we do or are interested in utilizing our staffing services, please contact us. We would love to hear from you!