Ace An Interview In 5 Easy Steps

Posted by

Nicole Winston-Harrington, Director of Talent Acquisition & Development at Winged Keel Group

Since joining Winged Keel Group in 2000, Nicole has managed all aspects of Human Resources, Recruiting, Employee Relations, Performance Management, Training Programs, and Event Planning. In her current role as Director of Talent Acquisition & Development, Winged Keel Group continues to draw on her expertise in attracting and retaining highly talented individuals whose skill and aptitude are aligned with the firm’s business goals and whom can consistently perform at a high level.

Nicole holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Florida International University, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Barry University. She is also trained and certified as a Co-Active Executive Coach from the renowned Coaches Training Institute. 

Nicole enjoys cooking, practicing yoga, hiking, and traveling. She also volunteers her time to Habitat for Humanity and Our House Grief Support Center.

What does 500 mean to you? For me, it’s the number of candidates I’ve interviewed during my 15-year tenure at Winged Keel Group. Lobbying for positions from Interns and Associates, to Managing Directors and Chief Operating Officers, many have aced the interview — and many have failed completely.

The difference is in the details. As the Director of Talent Acquisition & Development, I’ve studied people and their behavior intensely to identify high-caliber talent.

This is your time to shine and to prove yourself as a stand out candidate who we want to fight to get an offer to, before our competitors. It’s also an opportunity for you to strengthen your communication and presentation skills, and showcase your ability to thoughtfully articulate who you are and why we’d want to hire you. Now is when you must sell yourself as a valuable contributor to a successful, growing organization. I recommend going on many interviews to keep yourself fresh and practiced.

Think about your competitors, too: candidates from other schools, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, social media recruiting, referrals networks and beyond. They’ve all got their eyes on the prize, too.  How will you choose to stand out?

Follow these 5 easy steps to stand out and win the job:

1.     Look Sharp:

It’s true about lasting first impressions: dress appropriately and professionally, and you’ve earned my attention both during the interview and when I consider candidates later in the process. Successful people dress for success: a suit and tie for men; a nice top and skirt or slacks and blazer for women. Look in the mirror one last time: messy hair and an unshaven, sloppy look fails in a professional environment.

2.     Be Prepared:

Review the company website, company reviews on Glassdoor, bios of the firm’s leadership team, and beyond: make sure you are aware of the company’s competitors, culture, and current industry updates.

Coming prepared to an interview with knowledge about the firm, industry and job opening shows the Hiring Manager that you are dedicated, resourceful, professional, and taking your job search seriously. I’ve interviewed candidates who didn’t know anything about Winged Keel Group: Wow! Why would we want to hire anyone who doesn’t know who we are or what we do? We look for candidates who are well prepared and ready to take on the exciting challenges and growth opportunities offered at our firm. Want to set yourself apart from the pack? Come prepared, do the research. You will stand out!

3.     Know Your Strengths and Goals:

Where does your excellence lie? What differentiates you from any other candidate? You need to know the answers to these questions: what sets you apart, what you are good at, the tasks you enjoy performing, and what would make your contribution leveraging to those you work with.

What are your 2-year goals and your 5-year goals? Be clear in the vision you see for yourself. If you sincerely don’t know it yet, invest time in the process. The clearer you are with your own goals, the more articulate you will come across in an interview.

4. Be Curious:

Intellectual curiosity is appealing to an interviewer. Ask questions: “What has made someone successful in this role?” “How does the company expect to grow and outlast the competition?” “What is the most challenging aspect of the position?” You might also want to know what a typical day is like, how performance is evaluated or who your fellow employees are. Make a list of your questions ahead of time. Curiosity shows that you are inquisitive, engaged, interested in learning more about the position. You can ask about growth opportunities but stay focused on the current opportunity. If the interviewer thinks you’re looking to just get a foot in the door, they may not consider you a viable candidate.

5.     Say Thank You:

Emailing a simple note of gratitude after the interview is professional, impressive and highly appreciated by Hiring Managers like me. We see that you have strong follow-through, integrity, humility and sincere interest in the role. It’s considerate and gracious and, if well written, leaves a positive lasting impression.

Do you feel ready to ace your next interview? Practice with a friend and record or videotape your responses so you can replay the interview and see how well you did.

Want to interview at Winged Keel Group? We love meeting talented individuals! Check out our career page and apply:

Winged Keel Group is an independent advisory and brokerage firm specializing in the structuring and administration of the largest life insurance portfolios in the industry and insurance dedicated hedge funds for the wealthiest families in the country.  We specialize in advising our clients on how to make their hedge fund portfolios tax efficient using annuities and life insurance products. Since our formation in 1989, we have established a differentiated position in the market by continuously investing in building an operating infrastructure that enables us to deliver consistent high quality work over long periods of time.