Do you ever really feel prepared for an interview? Thoughts are racing through your head – you are thinking about making a good impression, wearing the appropriate attire, yes, even checking that you don’t have lettuce stuck between your teeth. Wouldn’t you like to go into an interview filled with confidence?
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your next interview.
1. Company research – It is an expectation of the interviewer that candidates will research the company before showing up for the interview. LinkedIn is a great resource to find companies. Key facts to find out:
- Parent company & subsidiaries
- Company type (private, public, VC)
- Decision makers
- Number of employees
- Products or services
Interview Prep: Once you have researched the company, you can analyze how you “fit.” By giving attention to the your “fit” with the company, people, and position, you are able to walk into the interview armed with what makes you the best candidate for the job.
2. Questions to ask the interviewer – A job seeker typically thinks that the only questions asked during an interview are by the interviewer. Not so. You should have an opportunity to ask questions about the position. A few to consider:
- Why is this job available?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge for the person you will hire for this position?
- What are the goals you want to accomplish and how does the person in this position play a part in those goals?
Interview Prep: Write down any other questions you may have for the potential employer, such as when they expect to hire the person for this position, when might you hear back regarding your status in the hiring process, etc. Hint: if you have an opportunity at the beginning of the interview to ask a question like “what would the ideal candidate for this position look like?” you will have the information you need to illustrate how you ARE that candidate.
3. Questions you may be asked – No one can predict what questions an interviewer will use to determine if you are the exact right person for the job. There are thousands of interview questions, good ones that generate key responses and others that are more than difficult to answer, and seemingly don’t have much purpose. You want to be prepared for them all! Here are a few to think about:
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What would your boss say about you?
Other questions will seek to find out your strengths as an employee, your management style, creativity, dependability, technical expertise, crisis management, etc.
Interview Prep: I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice your answers. Practice in front of a mirror to see your facial expression or body language and practice out loud. You would be amazed how that makes a difference. Putting thought to the most obvious questions can help you formulate responses before the interview and feel more prepared.
4. Create your “stories” – Engage your interviewer. Put yourself in their shoes. They probably are interviewing multiple people and are asking the same or similar questions to each candidate. Their minds may wander from boredom, thinking about the work they need to do after the interview, any number of things. By engaging the interviewer in your stories that articulate how you are the best fit for the job, they may “hear” you a little better.
Interview Prep: Create at least 10-12 stories that showcase what an interviewer wants to know about you – your experience, leadership, involvement in teams, how you manage others, product expertise, whatever that may be for you. An easy formula to create your stories is Challenge, Action, Result (C.A.R.). By explaining the context of the situation (challenge) sets the stage for the actions you took and the results you achieved. This approach has a huge value to the interviewer because they learn how you think, how you solve problems, what you did to “make it happen.”
Interviewing is such an important part of the hiring process. Your resume may have contributed to your getting the interview, now it is your job to ace that interview and get the job!