Interviewing for a job extends beyond merely searching for the most common interview questions on Google. It involves making a solid first impression, understanding the company’s mission and products, and demonstrating why you are the ideal candidate for the job. This comprehensive guide will provide you with 30 strategies to ensure you excel in your job interview.
The Power of Preparation
The specifics of your job interview preparation will depend on the job, the company, and who is interviewing you.
1. Conduct a Thorough Company Analysis
Invest a few hours to understand the company. Use multiple sources to gather information. Speak to your network to find current and former employees, read recent news releases, and spend some time researching online. Candidates often only review the information a company presents on its website and social media accounts but overlook more in-depth research. By looking at multiple sources, you’ll get a more extensive view of the company, including any negative press, and be ready to discuss why you’d like to work there and what you can contribute to them.
2. Understand the Job Role Completely
Before you can convince your interviewer that you’re the right person for the job, you need to understand what they’re looking for. Most organizations provide a detailed description of what they want in an applicant in the job posting. Go back to the description you reviewed before applying. What skills and experiences are they emphasizing? What problems will this hire need to solve? Highlight these points throughout your interview.
3. Experience the Company’s Product or Service
If the company you’re interviewing for sells a product you can feasibly check out, try it before your interview. If hired, your goal will be to create value for the people who use that product, and being a user yourself is the first step. This will show the hiring manager that you’re genuinely interested in the role.
4. Know Your Interviewers
If you’re not told who you’ll be meeting with during your interview, ask. For each interviewer, learn what their role at the company is and prepare some questions specific to them. This can include details about their role, discussing current events related to their field, or bringing up a common interest.
5. Understand the Interview Format
Companies use different types of interviews, so ask what you’ll be faced with. Some companies might have you meet one on one with several different people, while others might have you meet with multiple people at once or give an interview presentation.
Interview Skills and Common Interview Questions
Next, use what you’ve learned to prepare your answers to common interview questions and practice your interview techniques.
6. Identify your Unique Selling Proposition
Identify what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers will resonate most with your interviewers for this job. Your management abilities? Your creativity? Refer back to your research and identify what makes you most qualified.
7. Be Prepared to Introduce Yourself
For every interview, have an answer to “Tell me about yourself” that’s tailored to this job and company.
8. Know Why This Job and Company Interest You
You’ll likely be asked why you’re interested in this role and company. Identify a couple of key factors about the job and the organization that align with your strengths, interests, and work style.
9. Research Compensation Expectations
Even if you’re not ready to discuss salary, you might be asked about your salary expectations. To avoid being caught off guard, do some salary research to figure out your answer.
10. Prepare Your Stories
Most interviewers will ask several behavioral questions – questions about how you’ve acted or would act in certain scenarios. Prepare a few stories about your past work experiences that you can adapt as needed.
11. Master the STAR Method
The STAR method is a great tool to structure your answers during an interview. It stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
12. Remember Important Figures and Details
Don’t forget about the numbers! Find some revenue figures, engagement numbers, budget sizes, etc., that you can use to communicate your impact.
13. Brush Up on Your Interview Skills
Interview skills such as active listening, small talk, and empathy are important. These skills not only help you impress an interviewer, but also give them a sense of what it might be like to work with you as a colleague.
14. Practice Your Answers
Practice answering common interview questions. Don’t memorize your answers, but familiarize yourself with them.
15. Pay Attention to Body Language
Be aware of what you’re communicating through your posture and stance. For example, sitting with your arms and legs crossed sends a message that you are closed-off or defensive.
16. Conduct Mock Interviews
Perform a few mock interviews with a friend or loved one. This preparation will help you clarify your thoughts and make you much more comfortable during the interview.
17. Prepare Questions for Your Interviewer
Most interviews will conclude with “Do you have any questions for me?”. You should absolutely have some questions. Plan some questions that are very specific to the job and company.
18. Plan for Unexpected Questions
You can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare to handle the unexpected. For example, come up with a strategy to stall and gather your thoughts if you’re asked a question you’re not sure how to answer.
19. Prepare for Technical Interviews or Skill Tests
If you’re preparing for a technical interview or you’ve been told there will be a skill test during your interview, start preparing as early as possible.
Getting Ready for the Interview
Once you’ve prepared for the content of your interview, it’s time to ensure you walk into the interview looking professional and feeling confident.
20. Decide What to Wear
Unless you’re preparing for a phone interview, you’ll need to consider your physical appearance.
21. Look Professional
Ensure your outfit is cleaned, ironed, and tailored if needed. Shine your shoes, check for loose hems, and ensure your fingernails look neat.
22. Bring Copies of Your Resume
Bring enough copies of your resume for everyone you’re meeting with plus one to refer to yourself.
23. Prepare a Reference List
Prepare a reference list, whether you think you’ll be asked for it or not.
24. Test Your Technology
If you’re doing your interview over the computer or the phone, make sure that all the needed hardware, software, and network connections are working smoothly.
25. Pack Your Bag in Advance
Your bag should be large enough to hold your everyday essentials, plus your interview musts, such as extra resumes and a notepad.
26. Plan Your Route
Whether you’re driving or taking public transportation, make sure you look up your route ahead of time.
27. Prepare Your Environment
If you’re doing a remote interview, ensure that you’re in a quiet place without distractions.
28. Use an Interview Cheat Sheet
You can use an interview cheat sheet to compile all the details you need to remember.
29. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
This sounds like something your mom would tell you, but there are few things that will throw you off your game like sleep deprivation.
30. Calm Your Nerves
Immediately before the interview, get yourself in the right headspace. Expect to be nervous and plan ahead of time to use whatever tools you need.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you are well-prepared for your job interview. Remember, preparation is key to success, and with the right preparation, you can ace any job interview. Good luck!