So, you’ve secured the interview invitation – congrats! After resume updates, applications, phone calls with recruiter and likely a lot of time spent reviewing job postings and submitting your information, an invitation to interview is a big win! Now, how do you make the most of the opportunity and set yourself up for a successful conversation and hopefully a job offer?
Preparation is key for a successful interview!
Check out our TalentFund team tips for the best way to prepare for an interview:
1. Research the company: Learn about the company's history, culture, products, services, and recent news. This will give you a better understanding of the company and help you tailor your responses to fit the organization's needs, while also enabling you to use your interview time for more valuable conversation.
When you research a company before an interview, you'll have a much better idea of what they're looking for in a candidate. You can use this knowledge to tailor your responses and highlight how your skills and experience align with their needs. Research and preparation also demonstrate your interest in the position and company! As Recruiters our biggest “oh no” moments come when candidates ask questions that show lack of basic knowledge or preparedness on a topic they should have an understanding on.
Here are some specific examples of what you can learn by researching a company:
History: Understanding the company's history can give you insight into their values and priorities. For example, if the company was founded with a strong emphasis on innovation, you might want to emphasize your own creativity and problem-solving abilities in your responses.
Culture: Every company has a unique culture, and it's important to understand what kind of environment you'll be working in. Do they value collaboration? Are they results-driven? Knowing this information can help you demonstrate that you're a good fit for their team.
Products and services: Understanding the company's products and services is essential if you're interviewing for a customer-facing role. You'll want to be able to speak knowledgeably about the company's offerings and how they solve their customers' needs.
Recent news: Keeping up with a company's recent news can give you insight into their current priorities and challenges. For example, if the company just announced a new product launch, you might want to ask about how this new offering will impact the company's strategy going forward.
2. Review the job description and requirements: Read the job description and requirements carefully to understand the responsibilities and expectations of the role. This will help you highlight your relevant skills and experiences during the interview.
When you review the job description and requirements, you'll be able to get a clear understanding of the responsibilities and expectations of the role. You can then use this information to prepare for the interview and demonstrate how your skills and experiences align with what the company is looking for. Here are some specific examples of what you can learn by reviewing the job description and requirements: Responsibilities: The job description will typically include a list of responsibilities for the role. By reviewing these responsibilities, you can get a better understanding of what the day-to-day work will entail. This can help you determine whether the role is a good fit for your skills and interests. Requirements: The job description will also typically include a list of requirements, such as education, experience, and skills. By reviewing these requirements, you can identify which qualifications you possess and which ones you might need to develop further. This can help you prepare for questions about your qualifications during the interview. Keywords: The job description will likely include keywords that describe the qualifications and skills the company is looking for. These keywords can be used to tailor your responses during the interview and demonstrate that you have the relevant experience and skills. Reviewing the job description and requirements is essential for preparing for an interview. It allows you to understand the role and what the company is looking for in a candidate, which can help you tailor your responses and stand out as the best candidate for the job.
3. Prepare answers to common interview questions: Review and practice common interview questions and jot down examples from your background and experience to share.
Focus on some basic interview questions and prepare your answers prior to going in to the interview.
Keep your answers concise! Thoughtful answers with valuable information in a summarized format make a big impact. Avoid rambling. Preparation can not only help you highlight valuable information in your background and experience, but will also help combat interview jitters.
Examples of common interview questions and how to prepare for them:
·Tell me about yourself: This is a common opening question and gives you the opportunity to highlight your skills and experiences. Prepare a brief summary of your background and experience, focusing on the most relevant information. ·Why do you want this job? This question is asked to determine your motivation for applying for the position. Research the company and the job description to come up with a specific answer that highlights your interest in the position. ·What are your strengths and weaknesses? Prepare a list of your strengths and be ready to provide examples of how you have demonstrated these strengths in the past. For weaknesses, focus on areas where you have identified opportunities for improvement and discuss how you are working to address them. ·Can you tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem? Use the STAR method to provide a clear and concise example of a problem you encountered, the actions you took to solve it, and the positive results that followed. · Why should we hire you? This is your chance to sell yourself to the interviewer. Discuss your relevant experience and skills, and how they align with the job requirements and the company's mission and values.
4. Dress professionally: Choose appropriate attire that aligns with the company culture and the role you are interviewing for.
Not sure of the appropriate attire? We encourage candidate to error on the side of being conservative. Still not sure? Ask your contact what the appropriate attire is.
5. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer: Prepare a list of thoughtful and relevant questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the role. This shows your interest and demonstrates that you've prepared for the interview.
Avoid asking basic questions: Avoid asking questions that could be easily answered through basic research or that show you haven't done your homework. For example, don't ask about the company's main products or services if that information is readily available on their website.
Ask open-ended questions: Ask open-ended questions that allow the interviewer to provide detailed responses. For example, instead of asking "Is there a lot of collaboration on this team?", you could ask "Can you describe how collaboration works on this team?"
Prepare a list of questions: Prepare a list of questions before the interview and bring them with you. This will help you stay organized and ensure you don't forget any important questions.
Examples of questions to ask the interviewer:
What are the biggest challenges facing the company right now?
How does this role fit into the larger goals of the company?
What are the opportunities for growth and development within this role?
How does the company support the professional development of its employees?
Can you describe the team culture and how employees collaborate and communicate?
How does the company measure success and what metrics are used to evaluate employee performance?
What is the onboarding process like for new employees?
How does the company approach work-life balance and employee wellness?
What qualities do successful employees at this company possess?
6. Arrive early: Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview to allow for unforeseen circumstances and to allow time for settling in and calming nerves.
You’ve put in a lot of effort to secure and interview opportunity. A little preparation can go a long way in presenting your best self and helping to calm your nerves. By following these steps, you can be confident and well-prepared for your interview, and have a better chance of making a positive impression and landing the job.