I received the email early one morning from my client, Lisa.
“Guess what,” she wrote, “I got the interview! I’m so excited about this opportunity. But… now what?”
Lisa is the type of person who is good at improvising. She doesn’t always plan ahead and likes to jump into situations and wing it – and is usually successful at it.
But as I recommended in my response to Lisa, when it comes to a job interview, this isn’t the best way to approach it.
What should she do?
How to Prepare for a Job Interview
As said by Alexander Graham Bell, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” That really is key. You must prepare!
According to research by the career resource site Zippia, 33% of interviewers make a decision about a candidate within the first 90 seconds of the interview. That’s not very long! This shows how you must be in the right mindset from the start and keep your composure throughout. The hiring process isn’t necessarily easy and can make even the most secure person nervous. Prepping for it raises your confidence and puts you more at ease.
Job seekers have an almost 37% chance of getting an offer after their first interview, as noted in the Zippia findings. What can you do to improve your odds? Use the following tips to get ready for your next job interview and put yourself forward as the ideal candidate – and get hired.
Review the Company
Bring yourself up to speed on the company and get to know as much about the business as you can. See if they have a “news” section on their website and look at their latest press releases and annual reports. Read their blog articles and social media posts and customer reviews. You want to embrace as much knowledge as possible before heading into your meeting to demonstrate your interest and research skills.
Check Out Your Contacts
Do you have a connection who works at the organization? Or a contact who knows someone there? Don’t be afraid to reach out to them. They may know something beneficial about the company that can help, or they can possibly act as a referral for you.
Check Out Your Interviewer
Perform research on the person (or people) interviewing you. Look into their background on LinkedIn and other online resources. You never know! Maybe you share something in common such as graduating from the same college, or you could discover other pertinent info that will help you keep the conversation going and flowing.
Know Your Resume
You must be able to speak to every single detail on your resume. It won’t look good if you’re asked to further expand on a project that you spearheaded and can’t recall the specifics! Or you forgot it was even included on there. This is an awkward situation you want to avoid. And never make false statements about your skill set or lie about your experience. In the end, this will backfire.
Know the Role
Like many job seekers, you have probably been applying for numerous positions. And you need to go into the interview with a keen understanding of expectations about this particular one. Review the job description that enticed you to apply and make sure you know what the role entails and its requirements. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them to fill you in on all relevant information.
Get Ready to Answer Questions
Why are you interested in the available job? Why do you want to work at the company? How do your skills and experience match what’s needed to succeed? A hiring manager will want to dive further into topics such as your past responsibilities, strengths and weaknesses, and major challenges you managed. Get ready to speak confidently about your accomplishments and the value you can bring to the department and company overall. Practice will help! Ask a trusted friend or family member to rehearse with you or consider recording yourself to see where improvements can be made.
Pro Tip: Wouldn’t it be great if every interviewer sent you a list of potential questions ahead of time? If only that were the case! But until that happens (if it ever does) you should prepare for various ones you may get asked. This comprehensive interview questions and answers list from The Muse will steer you in the right direction.
Get Ready to Ask Questions
Prepare at least three good questions of your own for the hiring manager. This gives you a chance to interview the company. It’s a two-way street! What you ask shows your research abilities, your interest in the job, and your engagement in the discussion. You want to be sure you want to work for them (should you be offered the position, of course). Asking questions will help decide if the company matches the goals, vision, and office environment you want.
Pro Tip: Need help coming up with your own questions? Indeed put together this informative article that you must check out! It offers valuable tips and insights on different ones you could ask in your next job interview.
Be at the Top of Your Game
Did you know that 50% of hiring managers say how a candidate dresses and acts can be grounds for elimination?
When it comes to a job interview you need to be on your game. Planning for it should not be taken lightly. Approach the opportunity with the right attitude. Choose an outfit appropriate for the role and industry. Plan your day so you will be on time for the meeting. And always be professional and respectful throughout the entire process. Always!
Preparing for an interview is the key to an effective one. Taking these steps will help you stand out from the pack and make a good impression – and improve your chances of getting an offer.