The interview process is by far the most critical step in finding employment. Not only is it the appropriate time to expand on your application, skills, and resume, but also showcase why you’ll be a good fit within the company you’re interviewing with. It’s impossible to make every interviewer like you personally, and it’s important to remember that’s not the point. Performing well during an interview means demonstrating the value you’ll add to the company, reliability, and the ability to work with others.
Abide by these 6 simple interview preparation rules and increase the chances of landing your next job.
1. Researching before the interview
Familiarize yourself with the company you’re interviewing at. All reputable businesses have a website, social media accounts, and/or resources that show you who they are, what their guiding philosophy is, and their aspirations. By researching and learning this information, you’ll be able to weave it into the responses you give during the interview process. Your ability to do this demonstrates your dedication to earning the position, and an ability to pay attention to detail which is valuable in many jobs.
Look for key details when conducting pre-interview research, like:
- Major players: It’s always good to know who’s in charge and a strategy for opening a dialogue once you’re introduced to them. Do a little digging to see if you have any common contacts, hobbies, organizational affiliations, etc., that can be used as small-talk.
- What’s the latest: Press releases and other news updates are a great source of information! Reading through this type of information may provide a clearer picture of what’s going to be happening within the company down the road.
- The clientele: Scan the businesses site and glean any clients they have on the books. There are a few directions you can take this information. You may be able to leverage any connection you have with the client or casually showcase your knowledge about the business.
- The competition: Know who the company is competing against and take a look at others in the industry. Conducting preliminary competitor and industry research will ensure you’re well versed in all industry lingo and able to speak intelligently.
2. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
It’s common for an HR representative to inform candidates of the expected dress code prior to an interview. If this is not the case, take another look at the company’s social media accounts and photos on their website. You’ll likely find a sufficient sampling of images that illustrate appropriate attire, which you can utilize in choosing an interview outfit. If you’re unable to ascertain that information from the company’s site, try and discern what’s appropriate for similar positions within other closely related companies (ideally a competitor). One of the most important tips you can abide by, regarding dress, is to err on the side of overdressing. Underdressing or coming across as sloppy has a greater negative perception than overdressing. If you take the time to look polished, it is likely to make a good impression.
3. Be yourself; the right person for the job
While it’s good to be yourself during an interview there are communication strategies can help you explain why you’re the best person for the job. These strategies aren’t all verbal in nature. Being relatable and easy to communicate with makes you seem more pleasant to interviewers.
Practice the following tips and use them during your next interview:
- Begin with a handshake
- Speak at a medium pace and with clarity
- Maintain eye-contact
- DON’T MUMBLE!
- Sit up straight
- Avoid fidgeting and swaying in your seat
- DO NOT incessantly use the words um, uh, and like
In essence, mirror the posture of the interviewer and imitate a person to whom you genuinely enjoy speaking.
4. Prepare your answers
Anyone who has had a handful of interviews is likely aware of their repetitive nature. This is especially true when it comes to actual interview questions. Practice responding to the following categories and examples of commonly asked interview questions.
- Situational questions – “Tell me about a time when you…” or “Tell me about a situation when you.”
- Problem-solving questions – “Explain a time when “X” happened, what did you do to complete the project/ task/ job?”
- Behavioral questions – “What do you enjoy outside of work,” “what type of supervisor do you enjoy working with,” or questions not necessarily relating to the job.
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Fill in the blanks
The interview process isn’t only about the company getting to know you; it’s also a great time to ask any lingering questions you may have about the company. Asking questions about the potential employer is not an opportunity you want to gloss over. Feeling a business out and making sure it’s a good fit for you is just as important as landing a job in the first place. It may feel intrusive to question the interviewer, but it’s the only way to ensure you get the answers you’re looking for.
Here are common questions asked by candidates throughout the interview process:
- What’s the culture of the business?
- What’s the interviewer’s favorite part of working for the company?
- What are the 5 to10-year projections for your business? Expansion, contraction, stagnant?
- Are there any specific challenges the company is facing right now or will be facing in the near future?
- Are there any professional development opportunities?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
5. Come prepared
What a candidate takes with them to an interview primarily depends on the position they’re applying for. Entry level positions rarely require anything to be brought to the interview, while corner-office positions may require an ID, multiple copies of a resume, a portfolio, notepad, etc. If the interview requires specific materials to be brought, they’re likely to let you know. If you’re unsure, ask ahead of time. Otherwise, it’s good practice to bring a copy of your resume and a smile.
For any additional questions on interview preparation please contact us to ensure you get the job!