Interviews can be one of the toughest, most nerve-wracking parts of the job search process. It's a time when the spotlight is on you, and you have to communicate extremely well how you're a perfect fit for the job. That's a lot of pressure!

When it comes to job interviews, you can't let your resume or references speak solely on your behalf. It's up to you to demonstrate your unique energy, genius, and grit.

Focus on what makes you stand out, and don't make any rookie mistakes. Here are five things you absolutely must do in an interview in order to score the job:


1. Explain why this role and organization is aligned with your personal vision.

Employers aren't just looking for a skills match. They want to hire someone who is a good fit for the mission of the company. Before you go to your interview, take some time to research the company. Focus not just on what the company does, but why it does it.

Now, get really clear on your own personal vision for your career. What do you want to accomplish? What impact do you want to make? How do you see yourself progressing?

Finally, how can you align the company's mission and your personal vision? What are the common threads, and how can you communicate this to your interviewers?


2. Demonstrate through detailed examples how you would tackle some of the job's biggest challenges.

A superstar job candidate knows that the road ahead isn't always going to be smooth. At your job, you're expected to take it to the next level and achieve some lofty goals, and part of that is dealing with some tough challenges.

Take a look at the job description and brainstorm some challenges a potential employee might face--your interviewers might give you some scenarios to talk through. Be able to map out a well-thought-out plan for dealing with these problems. The more care and detail the better. Show off your problem solving skills and your ability to think creatively while under pressure.


3. Share your genius and how that superpower is essential for the new job's success.

We all have a unique genius--don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Your unique genius is the way you approach challenges and tasks. It's not about what you do, but how you do it.

It's worth it to spend some time reflecting on your innate genius and how it manifests in your worklife. How might it serve useful in your new job? How does your genius provide an edge to you as a job candidate?


4. Share your core values, the principles in which you live and lead and how they are a match to the new organization.

As we move toward a people-first model of leadership and management, company culture becomes an increasingly important part of company success. Workplace environment has an incredible impact on creativity and productivity, so you want to make sure that your core values are in line with those of the new organization. Your future employers want to know that you are a good fit for the workplace culture--your values dictate how you get along with co-workers, how you approach your work, how you prioritize competing tasks, and more.


5. Ask some thoughtful questions about the culture, management and how the organization approaches career development.

Take interest in the entire system--it shows that you are already invested in the company and are serious about a long tenure there. Asking about management and career development reveals that you are excited about your career and ambitious to make even bigger impacts. You are already envisioning how you can be an even greater asset to the company, and your future employers will love that.
Questions like this also demonstrate that you know the interview process is a two-way street, and that's a very sophisticated way of approaching the job search process. You are interviewing not only to prove that you are a good fit for the company and the role, but also to see if the company and role is a good fit for you. See how the company's management structure and opportunities for promotion and career development match up with your long-term career goals. No one wants to take a job only to find out it won't help them on their path to success.