You’ve submitted an application – and congratulations, now you’ve got an appointment for a job interview! Are you ready? Whether it’s your first job interview or you’re an old hand at this, preparing is a process with specific steps.
Study the Company and the Job
Hiring managers want to know that you care about the job and are interested in working for their company. Learning something about them in advance shows that you were interested enough in the job to research the company background. You’ll also avoid asking questions that are clearly answered on their website.
Tips to Get Organized Before Your Job Interview
- Review the job description – qualifications & requirements, description of duties
- Familiarize yourself with the company’s website – pay particular attention to the kind of work they do and why they do it (mission, goals, philosophy, history). If the job is posted on the website AND on Indeed and/or Handshake, read each description as they might differ.
- Confirm the interviewer’s name (is it in the email or notes from your application?). If available, find and read their LinkedIn profile and bio on the company website. (Make sure you are reading about the right person if there are multiple people with similar names!)
- Know the appointment details – time and time zone, date, location (address with directions or Zoom link) and name of interviewer, how you were referred or found the opening
Know Why You Are a Good Fit for the Job
Now that you’ve re-read the job description, remind yourself why you applied for this job in the first place! What was it that piqued your interest? Understanding what the job entails enables you to confirm that you remain interested in the job and helps you enter the interview with enthusiasm.
- Think about your own personal experiences that match qualities described in the job description
- Write bullet points to describe situations where you have used skills that demonstrate you are capable of doing the job
- Practice talking about experiences that demonstrate how and why you are a good fit. The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a great way to organize descriptions and talk effectively without rambling.
Reminding yourself of relevant experiences often makes it easier to articulate your qualifications during an interview. You’ll be more likely to feel confident and able to speak naturally without sounding over-rehearsed.
Prepare Your Own Mini-Reminders: What Do I Want Them To Know About Me?
Make yourself a short list of what you want the interviewer to know about you by the end of the meeting. Avoid getting home and realizing you left out something important about yourself that relates to this job!
- Create brief notes before your interview will improve your chances of highlighting relevant information about yourself.
- If it has been a while since you submitted the application and heard from the company, reviewing your notes, rereading your cover letter, and practicing your responses out loud can help re-energize you.
- Consider how you will respond if the interviewer starts with “Tell me about yourself.” (They are not asking for your life story, but giving you a chance to elaborate on your elevator pitch and share what you want them to know about you and your fit for the role.)
Be Prepared for Unexpected Questions
You can’t predict all possible questions! Think now about how you will reply to a curveball. It’s fine to say, “Let me think about that for a minute.” If the question is too personal, let the interviewer know you’re uncomfortable answering.
Ask Your Own Questions (Before Thanking Them for Their Time!)
Toward the end of an interview, applicants are often asked if they have any questions for the interviewer. It’s okay to ask about:
- Expected timeline for a hiring decision
- Next steps in the process, any additional information needed
- Any advice to strengthen your application
- What sorts of projects would you be working on
- Orientation for new employees
If it feels comfortable, and there is time, show interest in the interviewer by asking questions about their experience:
- How long have you been with this company?
- What do you enjoy about working here?
- What was your career path?
- Any advice for entry-level workers?
Sharing experiences relating to your personal development and growth can say more about you than simply repeating items on your resume.
Practicing responses ahead of time eases anxiety and allows you to come across as thoughtful and articulate without sounding robotic – soft skills employers appreciate. If you’d like to learn more about acing your next interview, schedule a free Discovery Call now.