Imagine this; you have spent days, weeks, or even months searching and scouring job boards for that dream job. After all the work you have put in, you finally receive that long-awaited notification from your ideal company saying they want to set up an interview with you. This is great! You are one step closer to achieving the next big step in your career. Now, what’s next? How do you show that company you are the perfect fit for their team?
Preparation for an interview is key to setting yourself up for the best opportunity possible to get that dream job! I am a Talent Executive here at Agility Partners, and my job involves connecting professionals with great organizations. An integral part of that connection is interview preparation. I have been trained with the dos and don’ts of interviewing, and I am excited to share five tips to help prepare you to crush your next interview!
Tip #1 Do your research.
To get us started on this preparation journey, the MOST essential tip is doing your research (this will also be a very important part of a later tip). Knowledge is power! The more information you know about the organization you are interviewing for, the more said organization will pick up on your interest in them. Every company wants someone to feel and be a part of their team. An easy way to show that is by reviewing everything you can about them. Take the time to understand their mission, goals, and any philanthropic work they are doing, and more. Dig deeper than just researching the organization. In most interviews, you can see who will be interviewing you. If you have access to that information, research each interviewer. I always recommend reviewing their LinkedIn profiles if you have access to them. You can find important information about each individual and possible personal connecting points, such as a shared alma mater or workplace. They will also see that you viewed their profile, which is a nice extra touch!
Tip #2 Have questions prepared.
Remember tip #1? It is important to remember that one while going through this tip. It is vital to have at least three questions to ask the interviewers once it is over. This also means to have 4-6 questions prepared just in case some of them get answered as you are organically going through the interview. Never leave an interview without asking questions. The interviewers will think you were unprepared or not interested enough to ask questions. Now people always ask me, “what kind of questions should I ask?” My answer to them is to have a variety of questions prepared. It will help if you base your questions on company culture (Refer to tip #1), job duties and responsibilities, and why they like working at said company. A few examples of critical questions to ask are as follows, “How is success measured in this opportunity?”, “What was the last change made internally based on employee feedback?” One last, powerful question that I encourage every candidate I work with to ask and will set you apart from everybody else: “Is there anything else I can share with you to ensure that you are confident that I am the right fit for this role?”. In my opinion, I have seen people have the most success when they ask that question last.
Tip #3 Review your resume.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in an interview is not knowing the information they put on their resume. You WILL be asked about your own experience, and you need to be able to speak about it. The first thing to remember is to ensure that all the information on your resume is truthful. Interviewers can easily spot someone who has not truly done what they say they have when they ask you questions about your resume. Next, make sure that your resume reflects the type of position you are applying for. This is something I coach all of my candidates on. Find skills from your previous experience that will apply to the job. Again, make sure this is all truthful information, but there is nothing wrong with a more targeted and specific resume to speak to your skills!
Tip #4 Show up/join the interview early.
In the current digital age, we have seen more virtual interviews. Whether you are joining a video interview or arriving onsite in person, join/arrive early. The interview is your chance to make a good first impression, and showing up late or joining the virtual interview late will not be a good start. The gold standard is arriving or joining the interview 5-10 minutes early. You would much rather be waiting on your interviewers than them waiting on you. A slogan that I live by is “when you are early, you are on time, and when you are on time, you are late.” Kick-off your interview with a bang by arriving early!
Tip #5 Practice your responses.
It is a well-known fact that practice makes perfect. This applies to your interview as well. Take some time before your interview to practice responding to various possible interview questions. Something that has always helped me is practicing in a mirror or recording yourself and playing it back. This is the equivalent of a sports team watching films in preparation for a big game! Make sure that you also have the proper structure when answering interview questions. This is something that my colleagues and I coach the candidates we work with before they go into an interview. We call this structure the S.T.A.R method. S.T.A.R stands for, Situation, Task, Action, and Result. When asked questions about your previous experience or how you would handle a specific situation, the proper structure to answer is crucial. Start with detailing the situation you are referencing. Then transition into the task that you had to handle. Next is to outline your action for that task, followed by the result.
Interviewing is a necessary part of getting any job. It can be very nerve-wracking and daunting. But also, remember it is just a conversation between people trying to get to know one another. Just like everything in life, preparation is key. YOU can crush any interview, and I hope these five tips help!
Check out my recent TikTok on interview tips and more job seeker advice!