Most know that the interview is the last major hurdle before getting a job. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to adequately prepare for this step. This can greatly affect their chances of getting the position. Taking the time to carefully prepare for an interview will not only help you feel confident as you go into the interview, but will also set you apart from other applicants. Here are a few ways you can prepare for your next big interview:
Research the company
This is vital! In almost every interview you will be asked a question along the lines of, “why do you want the position?” or “what can you do for the company?” The best answer you can give is one that references points that you like about the company. That could include discussing the mission statement, the environment, or the details of the position you are applying for. It really impresses employers that you have done enough research to know why this is the place for you.
Know Who You Are
It probably comes as no surprise that the interviewer will want to know about you. Almost all employers will begin the interview process by asking you to tell them about yourself. Having a prepared 30 seconds all-about-me statement that captures what you are about and what your professional goals are will make an impact on just about any employer. You should also be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments, and why you are the best person for the job. Make sure that you know what you put on your resume so that you don’t end up contradicting yourself from what you said verbally and what you have written down.
Having a couple of good questions to ask when an employer gives you the opportunity shows that you are interested in the company and want to find a good fit for all. A few questions you could ask include, how does this position support company objectives? What kind of software the office uses, how your position will overlap with other departments, and what the most important qualities, traits, or skills needed for the position are all good types of questions. Do not ask about pay or benefits, instead focus on what you can do for the company and how you can help it grow. Be prepared beforehand so you don’t have to try and think of one on the spot. This will also show that you have taken the time to research the company and position.
Make a Good First Impression
As a society we make a lot of judgment calls in the first five minutes after meeting someone. This is especially true during an interview. They want to see you arrive on time or even early to an appointment, dress appropriately, and act professional. The handshake you give will also convey a message to your potential employer. Greeting an interviewer with a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact will let them know that you are confident in yourself and want to bring a positive energy to the team. Making a good first impression will ensure the interviewer remains interested in what you have to say until the end and remembers you.
Practice Makes Perfect!
Mock interviews can be really helpful! They will help you recognize your weaknesses in an interview and give you feedback to correct them. You may have some habits that you do without even noticing. Maybe you play with your hair or touch your face when talking to people, or maybe you pick at your pants or fiddle your thumbs when you are nervous. You may even find that you really struggle to answer questions about yourself. Unless you practice you won’t know any of this until it is too late. Plus, employers seldom give interview feedback! Ask a friend to interview you as if they were hiring. They can go through a list of commonly asked questions. These will help you improve your interview skills and give you confidence for your next big interview.