How to Prepare for Your Next Job Interview
February 5, 2020 1:19pm
You’re in the market for a new job. Maybe you’ve recently graduated, or maybe you’ve been at your current job for years and you’re looking for a change. No matter your circumstance, you will need to perform well during your job interview in order to be offered the position. Here are some tips on what you can do to stand out before, during, and after your in-person interview.
Before The Interview:
Research the company/business
The first thing you want to do before any interview is research the company or business. If you already did this during the application process, great! You can just refresh your memory or dig a little deeper to be prepared! Information is generally easy to find. Check the company website, view their social media profiles, or Google the company name. If you know anyone who works there, ask them for information as well. Ensure you know what the company’s overall objectives are and consider how the position you are applying for might support those objectives. This will help you be better prepared to provide more relevant answers to position-specific questions during the interview. You should also understand the company’s mission and get a sense of its culture. You’ll want to consider how the company’s mission is supported by the position you are interviewing for. It’s also wise to ensure the company’s culture is a good fit for your personality.
Prepare for typical interview questions
Before you sit down in your interview, you should be prepared to briefly summarize what you know about the company. This can help you stand out as a serious candidate. You should consider some of the information you collected during your research and be ready to state why you want to work for this company. It’s important to be ready for difficult questions. The more you can consider ahead of time, the more you can avoid uncomfortable moments or foolish answers. Also, always be ready to talk about your greatest weakness, how you handle conflict within the workplace, and what motivates you. These types of questions, while seemingly intimidating, provide you with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your ability to overcome obstacles. If it’s been awhile since you’ve been on a job interview, ask a coworker of friend who has recently interviewed for a job about questions they were stumped on so you can be better prepared.
Have your questions ready
Asking a few thoughtful questions during the interview will help you gather additional information to confirm that the opportunity and company are right for you. And they show the hiring manager you are invested. Go back to the research you conducted about the company. What unanswered questions do you have about the company or culture? What do you want to know about your supervisor, peers, or team? What more do you want to know about the job responsibilities and expectations?
Your job interview is no time to be shy. You should be ready to talk about yourself. Be ready to talk about your accomplishments, unique experiences, and any other reasons that make you a good candidate for the job. Practice your answers in front of the mirror or with a family member so you can practice speaking out loud. Ask yourself what you can share that might be relevant to the position. What will you share about your work style? Be sure whatever you share is relevant to the position.
During the Interview:
Arriving five to 10 minutes early will demonstrate you are responsible and punctual. Being on time also shows your respect for the hiring manager, who may have other appointments or interviews scheduled after yours.
Don’t underestimate the importance of being polite and professional from the moment you arrive with everyone you interact with. Make eye contact with everyone in the interview, listen carefully, and don’t be afraid to take a minute to consider your response to questions before answering.
Even if the business typically has a more casual dress code, it’s still best to arrive dressed in business attire.
Turn off your phone
The dreaded call or text message in the middle of a work meeting or professional environment has happened to the best of us. And though it may be forgivable, it could still leave a bad impression on those conducting the interview. You can eliminate the chance of this happening by either turning your phone off or leaving it in your car.
After the Interview:
Send a thank you
As you’re wrapping up the interview, make sure you are showing interest in the position. Thank everyone for their time, reiterate your desire for the job and why you are a good fit for it. You may also want to ask for expected timelines on decisions or next steps. You’ll also want to promptly send a thank you. Emailing a thank you is acceptable, especially if that is how you have been corresponding with the hiring manager, but a handwritten card sent by mail has a special touch. Be sure to send a thank you to everyone who participated in the interview – even if you won’t be interacting with them daily.
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