There is a lot riding on doing well in an interview. Emotions are high. There’s a lot to think about ahead of time; no wonder they’re so stressful. Fortunately, a little bit of forethought can go a long way in helping to calm those pre-interview nerves.
If you already know what you’re going to say, doing a dry run of your interview is a great way to help you practice your responses and body language, but that’s only half the battle. In addition to thinking about what you’re going to do in the interview, you should also be thinking about the interview itself.
Preparing for your interview on a 30,000-foot level can help you:
- Get inside the head of your interviewer
- Feel more confident about the interview environment
- Build thoughtful responses to interview questions
- Give you a better grip on the interview overall.
Before your next interview ask yourself these questions:
Why do I really want this job?
Much in the same way employers are looking for the person to be the best fit for their role, you should be searching for a company that is the best fit for you. If your answer is something along the lines of, “It’s a paycheck,” you will find yourself back in the talent pool sooner rather than you may want.
Not to mention the impact taking a job that makes you miserable has on your quality of life. Who wants to spend a quarter of their week doing something that leaves them feeling unfulfilled?
What types of questions will I be asked?
Thinking about the questions interviewers typically ask and the responses they’re looking for can help you build out the types of thoughtful responses that signal to interviewers you’re the one they should hire.
Run through the interview in your head! Although it’s impossible to predict the specific questions you’ll be asked, but certain types of questions pop up in almost every interview. Thinking about these questions (and what the interviewer is trying to learn about you by asking them) can help you organically reiterate your skills and experiences throughout the interview. This, in turn, will help you send a stronger message to your interviewer that you’re the one to hire.
How would you do this?
Great question! If you’re interviewing for a customer service position you can add references to your excellent triage and problem-solving skills into several “standard” questions. This way, your interviewer will have a better chance of associating you with those skills when it’s time for a final review.
Remember, strong responses are catered around your skills and how they relate to the specific position you’re applying to. Brownie points if you can give specific examples.
Is this position logistically practical?
In the modern world, more and more jobs have become remote, but certainly not all of them, and some of them may only be remote for the time being.
If you’ve found your dream job, you may be willing to make compromises to take it. You may think micro-dealbreakers like being just outside your commute radius, traveling more than you’d like, paying a little less, etc. are things you can deal with, but in the long-term, those things add up and turn dream jobs into nightmares.
The best thing you can do is stay disciplined in your list of job dealbreakers and think about your new job prospect like you’re going to have it for at least 2-3 years. It can be challenging to pass on a great job simply because we can’t know what the future holds. But remember, if it doesn’t check all your boxes, it –by definition— isn’t your dream job.
What do I want out of my career? Will this position take me closer to that goal?
You may be thinking, “Isn’t this the same as asking why I want this job?” Sure, if your goal is to have a work history full of disconnected positions and odd jobs. Take a step back for a moment and think about your future. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Will taking this position get you closer to that goal? That’s not to say that career tracks don’t have detours (they absolutely do), but taking a job simply to have a job eats into your time working towards your professional big picture and takes away from your overall happiness.
Do I have everything I need?
Part of preparing for an interview means preparing for it physically.
- Do you have extra copies of your resume?
- If your interview is remote, have you tested your equipment beforehand?
- If it’s in-office, do you know how long it will take you to get there?
- Do you know what you’re going to wear?
Physical preparation is key to making the best first impression possible.
A company has to work for you, not the other way around!
The whirlwind of emotion coupled with the desire to perform well for your interviewer makes it easy to lose sight of the real purpose of interviewing. Whether it’s to gain experience, gain a better work-life balance, or simply build your professional network, you’re doing this for yourself.
Remember, you don’t have to interview for every opportunity that comes your way. Interviewing yourself can give you a better understanding of the types of jobs to look for, which interviews to take, and help reframe your next interview so that it’s centered around you and your professional goals.