Prepare yourself for your next interview with these easy steps
Whether you are a recent college graduate looking to score your first “real world” job or a veteran professional who recently decided to make a career change, the market is tough and you will run into competition everywhere. Each interview you have is different from the last and from the next, but if you prepare properly, you have given yourself a big boost in your chances of success.
You only get one chance to make a first impression and when you are trying to get an offer from the company who is going to pay your mortgage for the next number of years, you don’t want to drop the ball. Regardless of the type of job you are interviewing for, always dress in business attire. For more casual environments, it is still important to have a clean, tidy, well-groomed presentation to deliver a positive image with your potential employer. If ever in question, a more professional look is always safe.
Analyze the job description
Once you have an understanding of the role, make a list of skills, experiences and personal qualities that are required by the employer. Be detailed with projects that you completed which match the requirements for this position. The closer your experience to the role, the better chance you will have of getting a second interview. You want to demonstrate the situation/task, action you took and the end result for every question you are asked and how it will directly relate to your success in the position you aspire to fill.
Research the company
Take time to research the company to ensure it is a match for what you are looking in an employer. Doing this will not only help you get a better understanding of the company, but also give you an impression of the culture. If possible, research the people who will be interviewing you. Look into their backgrounds and previous experience – find out if you can leverage any previous projects or connections. By looking into the company, you will be able to walk in feeling more comfortable and be able to tell them why you want to work there.
This is a great chance for you to connect with any friends, peers or former co-workers who are with the company you have an interview with. Linkedin, Glassdoor and Facebook are a few great ways to research a company. Reaching out to these contacts can lead to inside knowledge about the interview process, interviewers, the company, culture, personal, company direction, etc. Depending on the relationship with your contact, this may be a way to help advance your resume in the process through word of mouth.
Once you have analyzed the job requirements, researched the company and connected with whom you know, hopefully you will have a better idea of what types of questions you can anticipate. This is when you want to prepare or practice interview questions. I would recommend practicing in front of a mirror, friends, or family. While you are practicing, pay attention to how you deliver your message. Does it answer the question they are asking? Does it present you in a positive manner? Is it relevant to this position? Was it clearly communicated? In addition, maintain appropriate eye contact, body position and language. Make sure you have an energetic, yet calm tone and speak at an even pace. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Before your scheduled interview, get directions and plan out your transportation ahead of time. Knowing where you are going, how to get there and how long it will take to get there will give you fewer things to worry about. Confirm that you know who to ask for when you arrive. Always be 5-10 minutes early, turn off your cell phone and have a few neatly formatted copies of your resume ready to hand out.
After the interview, it could be anywhere between a few hours to a few weeks before you hear about next steps. Be sure to send the hiring manager a thank you note – handwritten or email – after the interview.