By: Joe Kenny
Walking into an interview unprepared puts you at a distinct disadvantage in your quest to gain a great career opportunity. Preparation for the interview is the single most critical aspect of beginning the interview process for a new position. Preparing for an interview doesn’t start 15 minutes prior to your interview. It should begin the day you set the date and time to be interviewed. As soon as you hang up the phone, you should be excited and hungry to acquire important information about the position and the organization. These steps will give you the advantage and confidence you need to land that great Career Opportunity. We recommend creating a checklist of items that you should know before you go into your interview. Knowing where to start is crucial for this preparation portion of the interview process, and it is simply overlooked by candidates that believe their background and resume are strong enough to seal the deal.
- You should gather as much information about the organization you will be interviewing with via LinkedIn, Google, the company’s website and local chamber of commerce releases. By doing this you will be able to learn about the organization’s successes, public outreach, competition, initiatives to grow and specialties. Being able to talk about you is one thing, but knowing about the company you are interviewing for is critical to stand out among the crowd.
- Prepare yourself for the interviewer you will be meeting with. Do the research on LinkedIn to find out the person’s background which includes: how long they have been with the company, accomplishments, responsibilities, education, etc. If you profile your interviewer correctly, this will make you more confident when you meet this person, because now you should feel as if you know them already.
- Make sure you prepare yourself to ask questions about their business. These can range from what is the organization’s overall strategies to handle competition, what does the growth opportunity look like for the next 3-5 years for this position, to what type of training is provided for this position? Asking good questions about the role you are interviewing for will give your interviewer the perception that you are prepared and genuinely interested in the position.
- Another important aspect to know before you walk into the interview is how does your background line up with the position you are interviewing for? You want to make sure you are familiar with your resume and how your accomplishments can be positioned as selling points during the interview. Be able to talk about how you accomplished each point on your resume and how this will relate to their business, because this is the most important thing your interviewer will want to know. How can you help their organization and why do they need to hire you for this role?
- Be prepared for some tough questions, such as “Please tell me about a weakness you have and how you would like to improve upon that?” Or “tell me about a situation where you had a difficult time with a co-worker or supervisor?” These questions seem basic, but often the response you give can be a deal-breaker for you. Be honest and give real examples. Make sure you consult with your recruiter and are prepared to answer them.
- Always make sure to get the business card of the interviewer and follow up with an email letter. Thank them for their time and reiterate that you are very interested in the position and the organization. This step takes all of 10 minutes, but only a small percentage of interviewees actually send a thank you note. If you are one of those people, you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd.
By creating this checklist, you will be giving the message that you care about your job search and the company you are interviewing with. Remember, there is a lot of competition out there, so you need to bring your “A” game! By taking these important steps, it will help achieve the level of confidence you need in order to perform very well on your interview and land the Career Opportunity you deserve.