Preparation is the most critical aspect of the interview process for a new position. Walking into an interview unprepared puts you at a distinct disadvantage in your quest to gain a great career opportunity.
Follow these 5 steps for the advantage and confidence you need to land that next great job!
Step 1 - Research
Gather as much information about the organization you will be interviewing with via LinkedIn, Google, the company’s website and local chamber of commerce sources. This will help you learn about the organization’s successes, public outreach, competition, growth initiatives and specialties. Being able to talk about yourself is one thing but knowing the company you are interviewing with is critical to stand out among the crowd.
Also learn about the person (or people) you will be meeting during the interview. Do research on LinkedIn to find out the person’s background including how long they have been with the company, accomplishments, responsibilities, education, etc. This information will make you more confident during the interview and help you better connect with the interviewer.
Step 2 – Understand How Your Background Fits the Role
First, you need to know details about the job you are interviewing for. Common questions asked in an interview relate to your impression of the position and why you think you are a good fit. Make sure you know the title, role responsibilities and why it’s important to the company. Portray yourself as invested and interested in the position.
You also need to clearly understand how your background lines up with the position you are interviewing for. How can you position your achievements as selling points during the interview? Be able to talk about how you accomplished each point on your resume and how this relates to their business. How can you help their organization and why do they need to hire you for this role?
Step 3 – Prepare a List of Good Questions
Make sure you prepare yourself to ask questions about their business and the role. These can range from what are 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? The key is to ask thoughtful questions and not just simplistic or obvious ones. 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.
Step 4 – Know Where to Go and What to Wear
To form a good impression, don’t be late. Know the date, time and location of the interview. Look at a map ahead of time, know the route and understand how long it will take to arrive at the interview location.
You should also know what to wear for the interview. Your appearance is the first thing people will notice when you go to an interview. Do you want the person to enter the room excited to meet you or already have their mind made up that you are not a fit for the role? The way you dress reflects who you are, how serious you are taking the interview, and if you are a professional. If you have a suit or access to one, wear it! If you do not and you are a male, wear a nice pair of dark dress pants, a dress shirt (one toned) and a tie. For females, a pair of dark dress pants or a pencil skirt (no higher than the knees) will do the trick along with a button up blouse or dress shirt. Remember, you want the Interviewers attention geared towards your face and what you are saying, not at what you are wearing. Therefore, please dress conservatively, do not wear a lot of jewelry, go light on the makeup, and do not wear any perfume or cologne.
Step 5 – Practice!
Be able to quickly and concisely explain your background when asked to do so. Be careful not to get sidetracked with too many details that may not be relevant to the position. They already have a copy of your resume – so you don’t need to repeat it word-for-word. Hit the highlights and focus on your big achievements.
Also 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.
By following these steps, you will be sending 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.