One Small Thing

The easiest way to impress someone in an interview

When you’re going into an interview, you probably know all the cliché advice: dress well, come prepared, ask questions.

But beyond these obvious tips, there’s actually one crucial way you can impress your interviewer and leave with a higher chance of landing the job: Show just how good of a cultural fit you are for that particular organization.

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What does that mean exactly? Well, in interviews, “make sure you’re creating an image of yourself that connotes that you’ll fit in with this culture,” Samantha Ettus told TODAY. Ettus is a work-and-life balance expert who has worked with companies including Google, Yahoo, Target and more. She is the author of books such as "The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction."

“People are not just hiring you for the position, but they’re also hiring someone who is going to fit in with their culture,” Ettus explained.

Here's how to do it: Arrive a few minutes early to the interview, Ettus said. Make sure not to look down at your phone, but instead spend a few minutes observing the people around you. Is it a manic, fast-paced workplace, or more relaxed and subdued?

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“Use those minutes as though you’re an anthropologist, and observe the culture around you,” Ettus said.

Then, when you go into the interview, try and show how you would be a good fit. Match your tone to the tone of the interviewer, Ettus advised, or stress work experience or qualities that fit in well with the culture that you’ve observed.

Finally, “sincerity goes a long way,” Ettus said. Paying attention to cultural fit doesn’t mean you have to transform into someone you’re not — but it does mean that you should be a smart observer. Just as you would tailor your cover letter to a specific job, you should also tailor your interviews to a specific culture.

Also consider if it's a culture that is in line with your personality and career goals. It's just as important for the job to be a fit for you, too.

Smile, engage and be a good listener in the interview, Ettus said, and make sure to tell the interviewer at the end how excited you would be to be part of the team. That way, you’ll up your chances of showing the interviewer that you’ll not only be a great asset to the team, but a valuable team member as well.

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