Preparing For A Job Interview
Before you go into your job interview, it helps to remind yourself of the interviews purpose. Your goal is not to say whatever it takes to get the job. You dont want to lock yourself into a position that youll hate only to start the job-hunting process all over again. You are interviewing your employer as much as they are interviewing you. Going in with the right attitude can help you to remain centered and focus on getting the most from the experience.
One important thing to bear in mind is that its possible to talk yourself out of a job. A longer interview is not necessarily a better one. Stay focused and enter the interview with a strategy for handling questions without getting side-tracked. Most interview questions are open-ended, and it can be hard to gauge how much to respond. A good strategy for working around this is to prepare both long and short versions of a response. Default to giving the short version and explain that you can go into greater detail if theyd like.
Be sure to tailor your answers to fit the information the interviewer needs to know rather than offering any extraneous details and unnecessary explanation. Dont be so terse as to appear that you dont want to answer at all. But make it clear that you have a lot of information to share and give the interviewer a chance to sift through whats most relevant.
Lets talk about the 5 job interview preparation strategies.
Ways To Make A Good Impression
As you’re preparing for the interview, think about ways you can show yourself in a positive light:
This webinar featured in the Prospects Future You: Live event in November 2020.
Prospects · May 2021
Why Should We Hire You
When asked this question, keep in mind that the recruiter is looking to hear what skills you have that youre going to bring to the team. Dont give a vague answer, such as, Im friendly and a hard worker. Instead, be specific, summarize your work history and achievements, and use numbers when possible.
For example, say how many years of experience you have or name some of the accomplishments you made at your last company. The more specific you can be about what your skills are and how valuable of an employee you are, the better the interviewer will be able to picture you working there.
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The Day Of The Interview
Reflect On Your Accomplishments
Now that you have a bit of an idea of what youll need to cover, spend a little time reflecting on your achievements. During an interview, youll want to show the hiring manager you have what it takes to excel. Typically, that means discussing a relevant accomplishment.
Ideally, you want to identify key moments in your career that showcase you as a great fit. As you reflect, write down the ones that stand out most and that show that you possess the skills and qualities you found on the job description. Those are the accomplishments you want to work into your answers.
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Experiment With Your Speaking Voice And Body Language Throughout The Interview
During the interview process, it is critical to establish a favorable and lasting impression. This can be accomplished by developing a confident, powerful speaking voice and an open, pleasant body language. While some of them can come easily to you, you can choose to practice them with trusted friends or family members or in front of a mirror. Particular care should be paid to your smile, handshake, and stride.
Choose An Outfit In Advance
You only get one chance at a first impression, so be intentional when choosing what to wear to your interview. Be presentable and dress to fit the company culture, but dont be afraid to show your personality.
One of the things that Ive noticed is that Ive hired people who stand out from the rest, said Anh Trinh, managing editor of GeekWithLaptop. Any accessory or article of clothing thats different tends to get extra points for me.
A bright headband, funky earrings, or colorful socks can also make you more relatable. Your interviewer doesnt know much about you, so you can let your personality shine a little with a fun accessory. Just remember not to overdo it. Put in the effort to look refined and presentable and pick one thing thatll be remembered for the right reasons.
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What You Should Never Do Or Say In An Interview
You should never go to an interview without having researched what the company does. The interviewer will almost always ask you why you would like to work for their company, and your answer should include specific details about the company’s goals and ethos.
It is also frowned upon to ask about salary in the first interview. Employers find this to be an indication of being money-driven, despite this being a common question amongst candidates.
Tips For Extroverts And Introverts
When it comes to presenting yourself in an honest and positive light, there are some universal tips out there. Its a good idea, for example, to master the STAR method of answering questions. But its also wise to consider your personalitys strengths and weaknesses in the context of an interview.
Introverts and extroverts handle social situations very differently and accordingly bring their own assets and challenges to the table.
If you feel energized after social interactions, if you are whats commonly known as a people person, you can put that rapport-building talent to work for you. Being enthusiastic and a good storyteller can burnish your image, for example. But take those qualities too far, and you can appear disingenuous or sales-like, which might hinder you.
Keep in mind the importance of being yourself but not selling yourself, asking questions about the company and interviewer, and responding to the social cues the person youre talking with is giving you.
For people who identify as introverted, interviews present a unique challenge: Feeling comfortable with someone takes time for an introvert and time is one thing you dont usually have in an interview. Still, there are ways to hack this structural disadvantage. For starters, youll need to practice reviewing your experience and answers to common interview questions.
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Keep Notes In Front Of You
Usually in an in person job interview, both you and your employer would have a copy of your resume in front of you. One major advantage of a virtual job interview is that you can keep all kinds of notes in front of you that you have prepared prior to the interview. These notes can include answers to classic interviewing questions that may be easy to forget when you are under pressure or nervous, your strengths, weaknesses, and important points that you want to bring up. Of course, you should still have a copy of your resume in front of you, but these extra notes are definitely something you want to take advantage of since you will not be sitting right in front of your prospective employer.
The most important thing is to be, and come across as prepared. Having notes in front of you can help tremendously, but do look over them before the interview so you dont get stuck looking for specific points in the middle of the interview. Act natural, try to exert confidence, and remember that you were selected for the interview because the employer saw potential in you!
Get Some Questions Ready
At the end of every interview, you typically have a chance to ask the hiring manager a few questions. Make sure you have a few ready to go. That way, you wont be at a loss when that moment arrives.
If you dont know where to begin, ask them to describe a typical day in the position. You can also ask if theres anything preventing them from considering you the top candidate, giving you a chance to address any concerns head-on.
Check out our article for more questions you can ask the hiring manager!
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Review Your Facebook And Other Social Media Postings
Employers often review Facebook and other social media sites to get information and background on prospective employees. So make sure to review your online postings and pictures and delete any information that is embarrassing or could cast you in a negative light with the prospective employer.
Its also useful to Google yourself to see what your prospective employer would see if they did a search on you.
Conduct Research About The Organization And Its Function
Conducting research about the company to which you are applying is a critical component of interview preparation. Not only will this assist in providing context for your interview talks, but it will also assist you in formulating meaningful interview questions for your interviewers.
Conducting extensive research about the organization and position will offer you an edge over the competition. Additionally, thoroughly preparing for an interview can help you maintain your composure and perform at your best. Before you enter your interview, there are a few things you should know:
Conduct market research on the product or service:
Even if the position has nothing to do with the company’s product or service, you’re still wanting to join the team. It’s critical to gain as much knowledge as possible about the product or service the company creates and advertises. You do not need to grasp every detail, especially if the product is technical and you are interviewing for a non-technical role, but you should have a general awareness of the company’s primary goods or services.
Request a sample of the product if feasible to have a better understanding of the customer’s perspective. The more information you can provide on the product from both a corporate and customer perspective, the more prepared you will be for your interview.
Investigate the role
Conduct a cultural audit of the business
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What Would The Person Who Likes You Least In The World Say About You
Ah, the dreaded What are your weaknesses? question. This is just another way of asking it. But dont fall into the common trap of I hold myself to a very high standard type of answer designed to make you look good. Savvy interviewers see that tactic a mile away. Be honest, and if possible, show that youve learned from your mistakes. Something like: When I was younger, I wasnt very punctual. I have learned how disrespectful that is, and now Im never late.
Pick Your Outfit And Go To Bed Early
Save yourself some time in the morning by hanging up your interview outfit the night before. A good nights rest will help to calm any jitters and allow you to get an early start. Dont trash all your interview preparation by arriving flustered and panicked because you couldnt find a parking space or the train was delayed.
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Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years
This can seem like a heavy question during an interview, especially when you havent prepared for it ahead of time. Keep in mind that youre in an interview settingso you dont need to go into all the details about what your personal life goals are for the next five years. Focus on your career goals and be realistic.
If you plan to work at this company for five years, make sure you understand who would be working above you and what potential career growth there is. The hiring manager asks this question to find out if you set realistic goals, if you are ambitious, and to confirm that the position you are interviewing for aligns with these goals and growth.
If this position isnt exactly a job with a lot of future opportunities, you can simply answer this by noting that you are not certain what your future is going to look like, but that you believe this position is going to help you navigate yourself in the right direction.
The Bottom Line On Job Interview Preparation And Planning
Leverage your research and preparation to dazzle them in the interview and get a great job offer! The Boy Scouts are right be preparedto be successful in your job interviews.
If the interview is in-person, be sure to arrive 10 or 15 minutes ahead of time . If the interview is via Zoom or other video technology, be sure to have the software installed and have your video camera and microphone turned on. Hopefully, before the interview, try interacting with a friend or family member using this technology.
On the day of the interview, begin the login process a minute or two early. Again, as with in-person, NEVER BE LATE! But dont be too early.
For both in-person and video, be dressed appropriately, with pen and paper for taking notes, your list of questions for them, your cell phone turned off, and copies of your resume available to hand to the interviewers. If the interview is by video or phone, try to find a quiet corner for the interview and have your resume and the job description in front of you for easy reference.
More About Succeeding in Job Interviews:
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During The Interview: What Makes You Stand Out
- Give the interviewer a firm handshake
- Make good eye contact with the interviewer
- Body Language:
- Try not to fidget or touch your face or hair too often
- Keep an upright posture
Phone And Video Interviews
Some companies choose to host phone or video interviews to screen candidates before deciding who to call in for in-person interviews. Companies that offer remote work may also host these interviews because of distance or because they do not have an office.
Read our article to discover the most common phone interview questions and how to answer them.
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Prepare To Answer Behavioral Questions Using The Sar Format
Answers to behavioral-based interview questions should be structured Situation, Action, Result: What was happening, what you did in response, and how things turned out.
Not only is that a clean way to answer questions it also allows you to highlight your accomplishments — and since you’re telling a story, to do so in a memorable way. And even if you stray from the SAR format, make sure your stories have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with the result serving as the climax of the story.
Make sure you rehearse, though. The goal is to deliver a story in 90 seconds or less. Go longer and you’re likely to lose your audience, which could mean losing your shot at the job.