You finally found the perfect job opening. You polished your resume, sent it in, and got called back for an interview. That’s all great…but now what?
For many people, an interview is a nerve-wracking part of the job application process. Unfortunately for them, the interview is also one of the most important parts of the job application process. This is your best chance, as an applicant, to leave a strong, memorable, personal impression with the company and those you’ll be working with and for. In other words: it’s not something you want to take lightly.
How can you make sure you’re really ready? We’ve got a few tips on how to better prepare yourself for interviews, based on years of staffing experience and expertise.
You may have the skills and experience to tackle the position’s daily tasks, but that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you should know before you walk in and shake hands. You should be familiar with the company—its background, clientele, culture, mission, and more. This will help your interviewers see that you care about working for their specific company—not just finding any old job.
Luckily, thorough research isn’t too hard to do these days, as long as you put a little time into it. Here are some of the best ways to research a company.
- Social media pages (gives you an idea of culture, projects, what they’re excited about, and more)
- Company website (check out “About” and “Portfolio/Work” pages to learn about the company’s history and values, along with the projects they are the most proud of
- Use your network. If you know someone that works for the company, talk to them about company culture, and maybe even the people who will be interviewing you. If not, other people in your network may have some knowledge about the company that will help you prepare.
You might think that you know your skills, strengths, and weaknesses like the back of your hand, but when you’re under pressure during an interview, it’s not always easy to describe those things in an eloquent way. This is why you should take some time to rehearse your answers to common questions.
Some things you should rehearse include:
- Descriptions of your strengths and weaknesses (and how you’re working to improve those weaknesses)
- Descriptions of current and/or past positions
- A summary of your personality
- Anecdotes about successes and failures you’ve experienced throughout your career
- Why you applied for this particular job
- What it is about this company that appeals to you
- Any questions you might have for your interviewers
Look (and act) The Part
First impressions are important, and while your answers to the actual interview questions are crucial, they aren’t what makes a first impression. The things that make a first impression: your appearance and your demeanor.
Some quick tips for making sure those things are up to par:
- Dress appropriately. Your research should tell you what appropriate office attire is for the company, so dress accordingly. Generally, keep it conservative and professional.
- Pamper and groom. Good grooming can go a long way toward helping you look and feel your best. Nails, hair, makeup, facial hair, and so on are all things that will contribute to your appearance (and your confidence) during an interview.
- Eye contact, smile, handshake. Perfecting these things will make you seem personable, right from the start.
Pack for Success.
Make sure you bring everything with you to your interview. You could even consider putting everything in your briefcase (or even in your car) the night before. Make sure you have plenty of copies of your resume, a list of references, and a notepad and pen. Also, bring any personal items that might be helpful (breath mints, stain remover, extra tie, tissues, bandaids for blisters, etc.)
Above all, confidence is key in an interview. These tips should help you feel more confident and self-assured when it’s time for your next interview. Anything else you can do to help you feel your best—whether it’s a new outfit or getting a pep talk from a friend—do it! Your confidence could make all the difference. Good luck!
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