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Asked by Katherine on September 10, 2017

What are some practical things that impress an employer in an interview? i.e. firm handshake, key phrases, etc..

Answered by Phil, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on September 13, 2017

For me, one of the best things that a candidate can do in an interview is to answer the interviewer's questions clearly, concisely, and by providing solid examples. I am always impressed when a candidate can connect my question to previous experiences and provide tangible numbers, data, or outcomes (think STAR method - Situation, Task, Action, Result). I already have a general idea of your experiences based on your resume, and so this is the chance for me to dig deeper and find out more about what you've done and what you can bring to the table. I also appreciate eye contact throughout the interview - it projects a sense of confidence and interest. Best of luck! -Phil

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Answered by Traci, Hiring Expert at Accenture, on September 22, 2017

Even if you know who you’re going to be interviewing with (but likely most times will not – be prepared) there are some skills to work on in order to prepare. I am avoiding using the word “impress” because if you’re solely working toward impressing someone, you’re not working on the skills needed to be successful, not only during the interview, but for the long term. Yes, a handshake and eye contact are great things to keep in mind, but so are conversation skills, a repository of experiences to draw upon as examples, and avoidance or remediation skills in the face of conflict or disagreement. There are many different kinds of interviews, but let’s just use a behavioral interview and a case interview as examples. During a behavioral interview you can shake someone’s hand and spit out as many key phrases as you would like, but there is no substitute for your actual experiences to help answer how you have acted in certain situations. This is what helps the interviewer understand, not only a bit more about you, but allows them to picture you in the shoes of the person they envision for the position. With regard to a case interview, key phrases will not solve a client’s problem, but skill in bringing a client into a conversation and navigating conflict with or at that client certainly will.

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