The interview is one of the most important steps in your job search. How well you perform in an interview could make or break your chance at landing the job. So much is determined during this step, but perfecting the job interview is a challenge. There’s a lot that goes into it — things you need to prepare before you get there. Here are all the things you need to think about before leaving the house:
What to Research
Before every single job interview, you need to conduct some research. You need to make your enthusiasm clear to interviewers, and to do that, you need to understand the ins and outs of the job you’re applying for.
Start with the job description. Study it. Understand everything provided about your potential responsibilities and requirements. You never want to walk into an interview without knowing what the job is. And the interview is definitely not the time to ask. Be ready to explain what aspects excite you and what duties you’d be perform exceptionally.
Next, look into the company. Look at the company website, social media, and recent news. Be familiar with the company’s mission, clients, values, and culture. Use what you learn in your responses during the interview. Explain how you’d be a good fit because you understand the company.
As a bonus, you can also try to look up the interviewer beforehand. If you have enough information to find them on Twitter or LinkedIn, you can learn where they fit into the company. Without completely stalking them online, you can find some cool ways to tie in what you learn into your conversation. You can spark their interest by relating to them.
The interviewer will really be able to see your interest once you convey how much time you put into the research. This is essential because most employers say apparent disinterest is their top turnoff in a potential employee. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do this research.
Practice Answering Questions
Aside from researching the job, you also need to learn what you can about job interviews in general. Begin by looking up some common interview questions. These might be about your strengths, weaknesses, or why you want the job in the first place. It’s also good to find a list of the toughest interview questions, so you can prepare for the ones that tend to trip candidates up.
Once you’ve come up with a lengthy list of potential questions, you should start compilingaccomplishment stories. These are specific examples of things you’ve done in your work history that make you a strong candidate for this job. A common complaint among interviewers is that candidates don’t provide specific examples of their qualifications. Avoid falling into this trap by developing your stories ahead of time.
When an interviewer asks you to describe a time when you handled a difficult situation at work, or a time where you went above and beyond, you need to explain the whole story. Describe the problem, what action you took, and the result of your actions. In an accomplishment story, you need to show the work you did and how it paid off.
Come up with a list of stories to answer those interview questions you found earlier. Then, during the interview, you can pull the most appropriate story from your memory and describe your accomplishment with confidence.
The prep work for an interview is extremely important. You don’t want to skimp out on any details, or you could cost yourself the job.
What are some other tips you’d recommended to candidates preparing for their next interview?
Ask Bonnie McDaniel, Founder, Women Are Talking Initiative, what makes candidates stand out to her during the interview process.