The job search, in general, can be quite stressful. However, there’s no greater feeling than securing an in-person interview after spending so much time sending out your resume.
Once you do finally get an in-person interview, the last thing you’ll want to do is take it for granted. It’s important to prepare well so that you have every chance to impress your interviewer and get a job offer.
With that in mind, the following are nine essential tips on how to prepare for an interview and ace it.
1. Learn Everything You Can About The Company
When you’re preparing for an interview, one of the most important things you can do is research the company. Having some background knowledge will help you prepare for the questions that you may be asked about the company.
Not to mention, the more you know about the company, the better your understanding will be of how you fit into the company. As a result, you’ll have an easier time explaining what you can bring to the table.
Additionally, being able to showcase your knowledge about the company will impress the interviewer. They’ll get the impression that you’re doing everything you can to get the job, which will help in your favor.
When doing your research, be sure to do the following:
Familiarize Yourself With Their Products And Services
Read up on the products and/or services that the company has to offer. Doing so is particularly important if the role you’re interviewing for is directly related to designing or marketing the products or services.
However, even if in-depth knowledge of the company’s products or services isn’t required for the position you’re applying for, having some general knowledge about the company can be useful in the interview.
For example, if you can share what you know about certain products or services, you’ll be able to demonstrate your interest in the company, which can help you leave a good impression.
Understand Their “Why”
It’s not enough to know what a company does – you should also understand why they do it. In other words, learn about the company’s mission and values. You can typically find this information on the company’s website or on their social media pages.
Not only will this give you a better sense of the company, but it will also give you the opportunity to highlight your own values. For example, if the interviewer asks why you want to work for the company, you can share how their mission or values resonate with your own.
Learn What The Company Culture Is Like
When you’re doing research, one of the things you should focus on is the company culture. After all, you’ll want to make sure that it’s a place you want to work before accepting a job offer. It will also allow you to explain to the interviewer how you can contribute to the company’s existing culture.
To learn about the company culture, read employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor. You can also look for articles that mention the company culture or, better yet, reach out to someone who works there and ask them directly. Many companies will provide behind-the-scenes content on their blog or on social media which can give you a lot of insight into their culture as well.
2. Get To Know Your Interviewer
Although finding out who you are interviewing with isn’t always possible, some companies will list the name of your interviewer on your invitation. If this is the case, do a little background research on the interviewer so that you’ll have a better idea of how to approach them during the interview.
In addition to looking them up on the company website and doing a general Google search, you can also try searching for them on social media platforms like LinkedIn. You may be able to find out what their role is, what they’re responsible for, and even get a glimpse into their personality.
3. Do Research On The Role You Are Applying For
You’ll want to know as much as you can about the position you’re applying for before going in for your interview. This means looking beyond just the job description and researching what the role really entails.
Researching the position you’re applying for is important for a few reasons. Firstly, it will give you a better understanding of how your specific skills and experience apply to the role. This will also make it easier to answer job-specific questions. Secondly, it will allow you to ask more informed questions and discuss the role requirements in depth.
Both of these things will show the interviewer that you’re not just applying to every open position out there, but that you’re targeting specific jobs that you think you’re suited for. As a result, you’ll have a better shot at getting a job offer.
To research the role you’re applying for, start by talking to people who are already doing it. If you know anyone in your personal life who holds a similar position, reach out to them and ask for their advice. You can also look for interviews with people who have the job you want and see what they have to say about it.
4. Learn Their Playbook
Most job interviews follow a very similar format. If you’ve only just begun your job search, then you’ll want to be familiar with the typical interview playbook so that you can prepare accordingly.
There are a few common questions that you’re likely to be asked in any job interview, no matter the company or position. These include the following types of job interview questions:
- Questions about your experience: These questions will typically focus on specific examples about your experience. For instance, you may be asked to describe a time when you had to handle a difficult customer or solve a complex problem. They might also ask about a team project that you completed.
- Questions about your skills: These questions focus on whether or not you have the specific skills required for the job. For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires specific software coding knowledge, you can expect to be asked questions about your coding abilities.
- Questions about your motivation for applying: These questions focus on why you’re interested in the position and what you can bring to the table. For instance, you may be asked to describe your previous experience in customer service or explain why you think you would be good at the job.
Preparing for these types of questions in advance will give you a much better chance of impressing the interviewer and landing the job.
5. Prepare To Ask Your Own Questions
Asking questions in an interview is just as important as answering them. Asking questions about the job requirements, company, or office environment shows that you’re prepared and interested in the role.
You may be able to discover new information or get confirmation about aspects of the job that you didn’t have before. For instance, you might ask the interviewer about the company policy on remote work. This can give you a better sense of whether or not the job meets your individual needs.
With that in mind, the following are a few examples of general questions that you can ask during an interview:
- Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
- What are the biggest challenges of the position?
- Will the role’s primary responsibilities change?
- What are the company’s policies on (insert topic)?
- Can you tell me more about who I’ll be working with?
- What is your employee turnover rate like? How do you keep it low?
6. Keep Practicing
If you want to do well at your next job interview, practice is key. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll become and the better you’ll be at answering tough questions and handling difficult situations.
That being said, it’s important to practice with the right mindset. Rather than just going through the motions, try to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. Think about what they might ask you and how you would want to answer. This will help you be more prepared for anything that comes up.
Rehearse The Interview
The best way to practice is to rehearse your answers to the questions that will likely be asked. When rehearsing, try to simulate the real thing as much as possible. Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, turn off your phone, and sit in a chair or at a table.
Once you’re in the “interview space,” have a friend or family member ask you common interview questions. Try to answer them as if you’re really in the interview. This will help you get used to the feeling of being in an interview and allow you to practice your answers.
Consider recording your rehearsal as well. Doing so can be a great way to study your body language, delivery, and tone of voice. By watching yourself on video, you can get an idea of how you come across to others and identify any areas that need improvement.
For example, you might notice that you use filler words like “um” or “like” too often. Or, you might realize that you need to make more eye contact when you’re speaking.
Practice Interview Etiquette
There’s more to nailing an interview than just knowing what to say. There’s also a certain etiquette that you need to follow. After all, first impressions matter, and how you behave in an interview can have a big impact on whether or not you get the job.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be polite: This includes everything from saying “please” and “thank you,” to respecting the interviewer’s time and position.
- Maintain eye contact: Look the interviewer in the eye when you’re speaking to them. This shows that you’re confident and engaged in the conversation.
- Be aware of your body language: Sit up straight, don’t fidget, and avoid crossing your arms. These are all signs that show you’re not interested in what the interviewer has to say.
- Turn off your phone: You don’t want to be interrupted by a phone call or text message in the middle of the interview, so be sure to turn off any devices.
- Ask questions: Asking questions shows that you’re engaged and interested in the role.
- Listen to the interviewer: It’s important to pay attention to what the interviewer is saying so that you can respond accordingly. Always listen carefully when they are speaking and don’t interrupt them.
- Be honest: Don’t try to exaggerate or make things up. The interviewer will likely see through it, and it’ll reflect poorly on you.
7. Prepare Everything You Need To Bring To Your Interview In Advance
It’s important to have all of your ducks in a row before the big day. This means having all of the required documents ready to go.
The last thing you want is to be scrambling the day of the interview, trying to find that one piece of paper you need. So, make a list of everything you need to bring and put it in a safe place. That way, you can grab it and go on the day of the interview.
Here are a few things you might need to bring:
- A copy of your resume
- A list of references
- Your portfolio of work (if applicable)
- Your ID or passport (if you’re applying for a job that requires travel)
- Any necessary certificates or licenses
- A notepad and pen
- Anything else requested by the interviewer
By being prepared, you’ll be able to walk into your interview with confidence, knowing that you have everything you need.
8. Always Dress To Impress
Showing up to an interview underdressed can leave a poor impression on the interviewer. They’ll assume that you don’t care about the job or that you’re not taking the interview seriously. As such, it’s important to dress for success.
How you dress for an interview will depend on the industry you’re in and the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re interviewing for a job in a creative field, you might be able to get away with dressing a bit more casually. Conversely, if you’re interviewing for a job in a more traditional field, it’s best to be more conservative and dress formally.
In general, avoid anything too revealing, overly casual, or flashy. When it comes to colors, neutral colors are your safest bet. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t dress in certain color combinations. Just make sure that the colors of your wardrobe don’t clash with each other and that they look appropriate for an interview.
Additionally, keep in mind that certain colors have certain psychological effects. For example, blue is often seen as a calming color, while red is seen as a power color.
With that in mind, you might want to choose colors that will help you project the image you want.
The bottom line is that you want to make sure you look put together and professional. This will show the interviewer that you are serious about getting the job.
9. Virtual Interview Preparation
While in-person interviews are still the norm, more and more companies are starting to conduct virtual interviews. With the advancement of technology, it’s now possible to interview for a job without ever having to leave your house.
Virtual interviews are conducted over the phone or via video conferencing (e.g. Skype, Google Meet, etc.). They’re becoming increasingly popular because they’re more convenient for both the employer and the candidate.
If you’re going to be interviewing for a job virtually, then be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
- Check your internet connection before your interview.
- Make sure your camera is working properly and that your space is properly lit so that the interviewer can see you.
- Set up your camera at eye level. This will help you avoid looking up or down at the interviewer.
- Choose a comfortable and appropriate space to conduct the interview from (for example, your home office is much more appropriate than the kitchen).
- Make sure the interview area is clean and uncluttered. If the area around you is dirty and cluttered, it will make you look unorganized or lazy.
- Make sure there’s no background noise that could interfere with the conversation.
- Dress professionally, even though the interviewer won’t be able to see you from the waist down.
- Be aware of your body language and make sure you’re not sitting in a way that makes you look slouched or uninterested.
Preparation Is Key To Leaving The Right Impression
Preparation is crucial to any successful job interview. It’s going to be difficult to leave a positive impression or to stand out from other candidates if you don’t prepare properly. By taking the time to prepare using these tips, you’ll increase your chances of nailing the interview and getting the job.
Are you scheduled for an over-the-phone interview?
Read our latest blog to get the best tips on how to impress your potential employer in a phone interview.