You submitted your application and your resume, and now you have the interview. The rest is up to how well you knock their socks off in the meeting!
The fact that you’re looking into ways to prepare for this important part of the job process speaks volumes. A lot of candidates expect their resume to do the work for them. They head into the interview unprepared, make you look extra impressive.
Whether this is the position of your dreams or the next step to your next career step, it’s important to you. You can prepare for your interview and boost your chances of getting hired by following these expert tips!
1. Get to Know the Company
Knowing what you are going to do is one thing; getting to know the company you’re working for is another. Do your research to show that you are aware of the mission, values, and ethics of the business.
Check social media and the headlines online to see if there are any current news items you should be aware of. You can pull out the positive tidbits when they fit in with your answers to show you are up-to-date with the information.
Track down current or previous employees and ask them about their experience. They’re often the source of the most accurate information regarding a day in the life on the job.
Don’t take a negative review to heart immediately. Not everyone fits into a company without problems. But if you hear regular warnings, it could be a sign of something you need to pay attention to.
If you’re not sure about the compensation for the position, research the going rate for that job in your area. It may surprise you what the average salary is. For example, physicians that make six figures in a large city may gross tens of thousands less in a smaller, rural area.
2. Ask About the Interview Process
Asking questions is the best way to get prepared and learn the ropes. A company that knows this will welcome a prospective interviewee’s queries.
Call the human resources department and find out who will be sitting in on your interview. Use the company’s web page to research those people and try to learn more about them. From there, you can compile a list of questions that are relevant to each person that show you’re interested in all the roles of the business.
While you’re on the phone with HR, find out what the interview format is. There may be a regular set of questions they provide you with if you ask. Knowing the questioning style helps you prepare your answers and is completely a normal thing to ask about.
3. Dress the Part
Professional attire in a job interview is important. Showing up in jeans and a t-shirt to a meeting with those who hold your future job in their hands is not a good first impression.
Find out what the dress code is. For a business/casual company, you don’t need to go overboard. Khaki, navy, or black slacks and a white polo or long-sleeved top are standard one-size-fits-most looks. However, any semi-professional outfit that fits well and isn’t the jeans/t-shirt combo works.
If you’re not sure that what you have will fit the bill, check out what current employees are wearing. Find something similar but slightly nicer. Make sure it’s clean and wrinkle-free.
Take care ahead of time to match the shoes to your outfit. Give yourself a manicure and shave. Clean out your purse if you might need to dig through it. All of these little things add up to a better image of you overall, and you’ll have more confidence, too.
4. Have Copies of Everything Ready
You already turned your resume in with the application, but that doesn’t always mean the people in the interview have it. Print out a few copies, along with a reference list, and put them in a neat, organized folder. Bring your own pen, as well.
A purse works to carry your papers, but a briefcase looks more professional. Whatever bag you choose, it should contain the necessities. These might include a notebook, your resume/references, at least two pens, and your business card if you have one.
In another part of your bag, keep the personal essentials. Breath mints, a small sewing kit, medicine, band-aids, and a stain removal stick are must-haves for all professionals.
5. Get Your Mindset Right
It’s normal to feel nervous about an interview. You want to do well. That kind of stress, or eustress, is beneficial. It helps you to make sure you prepare.
Too much stress, on the other hand, leads to anxiety. This is nerve-wracking and can be detrimental to your preparation. When you know you’ve done your best, it’s time to focus on your mindset, not the interview and consequences.
Instead of learning new information, review what you already know. Refresh yourself about what’s on your resume, the answers you got from other employees, and the company’s mission.
Prepare a catchphrase that you can use when you’re unsure how to answer a question that will give you time to think. For instance, if you repeat the question asked, it solidifies it in your mind, lets the interviewer know you’re not ignoring them, and gives you time to compose your answer.
The most important tool to success in any avenue of life is preparation. In fact, Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Preparing for your interview gives you the knowledge you need to impress the interviewers. It also gives you the confidence to walk through those doors knowing you did everything you could to ready yourself!
Remember, it’s the confidence you have that is going to ultimately sell them on you. Your knowledge is a bonus!