Heading into an interview, it’s easy to be nervous, anxious, excited – or all three! Preparing for an interview well can save you a lot of unnecessary stress going into the process, as well as set you apart from other candidates you may be competing against for the position. In order to help you knock your next interview out of the park, here are our top 10 things to do to prepare for an interview:
- Do your homework – Managers will know immediately if you are only “kicking the tires” or are truly serious in their opportunity by how much research you did prior to the meeting. You MUST go through their web site and understand the basics of what they are as a company; how many employees do they have, how long have they’ve been in business, are they privately held or a public facility. Also, it makes sense to do a Google search regarding the facility, LinkedIn will also have some good information to discover including the profile of those that will be meeting with you. IMPORTANT NOTE – the more you know about the facility and the team the more confident you will be during the interview – managers want to hire confident individuals. After you have reviewed their web site use their language, and be reflective, use their buzz words, you want to be seen as being likeminded.
Review the job description and try to anticipate the questions the manager will ask based on your background. Please review your resume to help you remember your own technical background (you may have several years of experience and something that you did 5 years ago may have caught this manager’s attention).
- Be your best self – Yes, the hard skills are important to getting things done, but your soft skills will get you hired. A friendly, professional personality is what most managers are looking for in a candidate. Smile and answer questions straight forward, rambling or going around the bush on any subject will be an issue. I’ve seen candidates talk themselves out of a job because they didn’t answer the question directly. It’s okay if you don’t know something or have that specific experience. Just mention that you haven’t had the opportunity to work with that technology yet, but you are always interested in learning something new, and you pick things up with a short learning curve. Remember, it’s not always what you say but how you say it that gets you hired.
- Show your interest – Too many times I had to let candidates know that the manager was passing on their candidacy because the manager didn’t feel that they were interested in the opportunity. Show your interest by using good energy/passion during the discussion
- Tell a compelling story – Everyone loves a good story, so when discussing your background keep it relevant and use real life examples to best describe your background. Talk about how you had to handle a difficult problem and how you resolved this successfully.
- Ask good questions – interviewing is a two-way street, you need to have a real good understanding of the responsibilities of the role, where the dept is heading, and how you can be a successful member of the team. Asking good questions shows the manager you are serious about this opportunity and that you are also career minded. A big mistake candidate’s make is not asking questions when given the opportunity to ask.
- Be Flexible – how well you will work with the current team is being judged, are you going to be tough to work with or are you approachable and flexible? Likeability and flexibility go hand in hand in getting hired.
- Practice makes perfect – is this your first rodeo? For most candidates it is, and this can be a pretty stressful situation. Ask a friend or your recruiter for a mock interview; this will help with your timing, and professional and friendly demeanor.
- Stay positive – this is a very important note – don’t talk badly about your present employment, no matter how difficult it has been. Always take the high road, managers don’t want to hear about your hardships or negativity.
- Be transparent – if this is the role you really want it’s important to let the manager know you are very excited about this position. “This sounds like something I would like to do” is great to say and be specific about the job and requirements. Show your enthusiasm for it is contagious.
- Get some names – It’s always a good practice to send out a thank you email after the interview, especially if you want this position. Even if this is not the right role for you still send out an email and make it address something that was specific to your meeting.
Never burn that bridge; managers move on too, and if your remembered as being a good overall candidate another role may magically appear down the road.
Using the 10 tips above will increase your success during an interview and help you make a great impression on your potential employer. Keep checking back for more great job search tips from our team and don’t forget to check out our job board!