How to Properly Prep for an Interview
Sometimes looking for a new job can feel like a full-time job in itself! So when you do land an interview, it is common to feel a little relieved. There’s no problem in celebrating that you successfully marketed yourself, but don’t think that the hard work is over.
To properly prepare for an interview, we need to break it into 3 chapters.
Chapter 1: Pre-interview
- Research the company
Make sure to familiarize yourself with the company’s clients, history, any recent awards/nominations, and social presence.
- Review the job post
A well-written job post tells you exactly what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate. Spend time thinking about the daily responsibilities and skills listed and be prepared to talk about strong personal examples from your own background that demonstrate said skills.
- Know where the office is located and the parking situation
- Confirm date and time
- Know how many individuals you will be interviewing with
Practice makes perfect. Find a friend to conduct a mock-interview with. The more you go over questions, the more confident and comfortable you will be during the real thing. Look on GlassDoor for any interview reviews of the company. There, real people described their experiences with the company and provided questions that they were asked during their own interviews. Remember, you can never be too prepared!
Chapter 2: Interview
- Plan for traffic, wrong turns, and construction
Shoot to show up around 15 minutes early. Arriving too early can be considered rude and inconsiderate of the interviewers time. But by planning on being 15 minutes early, you give yourself a grace period, reduce the chances of showing up flustered, and can review your material before getting started.
- Dress appropriately
No matter what the dress code may be for the employees, ALWAYS dress professionally! It is also good practice to have your hair pulled back from your face.
- Stand and greet your interviewer when they enter the room
- Don’t assume your interviewer has your resume printed out
Make sure to take enough copies for everyone you might be meeting with. It is also good practice to have either a digital or physical portfolio with you. If you side with a digital copy, don’t count on having access to wifi. Make sure to have everything downloaded to the device.
- Have your phone silenced and out of sight!
- Focus on your body language
Your body answers questions just as much as your words do. Make sure that you sit up straight and that your arms remain uncrossed.
- Actively listen to your interviewer and fully answer their questions
One of the worst things you can do during an interview is zone out, but it is fine to ask for clarification if you do not understand what the interviewer is asking. If you need time to think of a good answer, take a drink of water or ask for a second or two to reflect. Most interviewers are looking for a quality answer and understand the pressures that can come with being put on the spot.
- Ask insightful questions
If you did your research, you probably had a question or two come to mind about the company. Make sure that you have your questions written down beforehand. It’s also a good idea to jot down any questions that come to mind during the interview. When your interviewer asks if you have any questions for them, take advantage of your turn to take the lead. Just because you might be a good match for them, doesn’t mean that they are a good match for you. Make sure the company aligns with your values, are giving you the tools you need to succeed, and have the potential for career growth and professional development.
- Show excitement!
Companies want to hire people who are already motivated to go to work every day. Make sure you have a better answer than “I need a job” for why you want to work for the company.
- Make eye contact and shake the interviewer(s) hand at the end
- Always say thank you!
Interviews are roughly 30 to 60 minutes long. That’s valuable time people are taking our of their workday for you.
Chapter 3: Post-interview
- Ask about next steps
Are there going to be secondary interviews? When is the position starting? Will they be contacting everyone regardless if they are hired? Feeling confident about your interview is hard to do when you are left in the dark.
- Send a thank you note!
Yes, even if you said thank you in person! This can be in the form of an email or a card, but it is typically expected to send a note within a single business day. Need more motivation? A thank you note also helps to refresh your name in the hiring committee’s mind.
- Follow up
Don’t be afraid to follow up with the company if you haven’t heard anything. If the interviewer said that he will be letting everyone know a decision by the end of the week and you haven’t heard anything by Wednesday of the next week, it is totally reasonable to ask for a status update. Hiring the right candidate can be a long process and doesn’t always happen when the company would like. By asking for a status update, you are showing your continued interest in the company and desire to be selected.
Use these chapters as a checklist for your next interview and I promise that you will feel confident before, during, and afterward.
By: Miranda Hardesty Hoffpauir