Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company!
A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply to, network with, write fantastic cover letters for and submit applications to. You should be proud you made it past the initial resumé screen. It means you look great on paper. Now it’s time to prove you are even better in person!
Use these 10 tips to prepare for your interview:
1. Get organized
Write down the date, time and location of your interview in your smart phone or date book right away.
Tip: Ask the recruiter for key information like the name of your interviewer and the interview style to help you prepare in the below steps.
2. Research the company
Their website: Check out their mission statement, values/competences, services or products, case studies, awards, blog and executives. Be confident you can summarize why you want to work at the company and why you are a great fit with this company in particular.
Job site: See what current job openings they have other than your specific interest. This will give you a well-rounded view of the company.
LinkedIn: Do they have a company page? Any relevant information that isn’t on their website?
Google search: Look for press releases and any awards or information that the company may not have highlighted on their website.
Tip: Print off any key information and highlight it or take notes. Don’t be afraid to take this prep package with you to the interview in a folder so they see you are prepared. Also, write down any questions you have to ask to determine if the company is the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them.
3. Get the REAL story via social media
- Check out their Facebook page to see photos, comments and general company news. This can be a great place to see company social event photos.
- See if they have a Twitter account or a company #hashtag so you can see what your future colleagues are tweeting about.
- See if there are any employee videos on YouTube.
- Check out Glassdoor.com and Vault.com to see ratings and candid feedback from past employees.
Tip: Seeing the inside scoop from current employees helps you understand your future colleagues and the “real” experience working at Company X!
4. Research your interviewers
If you have the interviewer names, check them out on LinkedIn. See how long they have been with the company, which positions they have held, what their interests are, who they might know in your network, etc.
Tip: You can use this information when asking them about their experience at Company X or when asking questions at the end of the interview. Example: “I see that you have been at Company X for 5 years and have worked in the recruiting and marketing teams – tell me why you love working here…” This shows you went above and beyond in your research.
5. Research the industry:
- What are top trends in the industry right now?
- Why do you feel this industry is a great fit for you?
- Who are the biggest competitors of this company?
Tip: Use this information when they ask you the questions “Why do you want to join company X?” or “What interests you about this industry?” Show that you are passionate about the industry and well versed!
6. Reach out to friends or connections
Do you have any friends that work at the company or have interviewed? Find out what type of interview questions they ask. Is it behaviour based? Is there a competency exam?
Tip: Getting the inside scoop always sets you up for success. If you have a friend who works there, ask them about the person interviewing you and the typical questions they might ask during the interview. Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to refer you or highlight your name to set you apart from the rest of the applicants!
7. Practice being interviewed
Ask the recruiter what type of interview it will be (usually the answer is behaviour-based). Google “behaviour based interview questions” and see a ton of great examples.
Have a family member, friend, or roommate ask you the questions and practice giving answers. Some great sites will not only list the question but also key skills to highlight.
The best trick with behaviour based interview questions is answer using the STAR technique: outline the Situation, Task and Action, followed by the Results. Focus the majority of your time on your specific Action. Think of outlining the Situation and recapping the Result as bookends.
Tip: Remember to always tell the truth and focus on situations in which you played a lead role!
8. Plan your interview outfit
Don’t wait until the morning of your interview to figure out what to wear. Plan it out the night before, and ensure it is ironed and ready to go first thing.
Tip: Do your research on the company dress code. My rule of thumb is to dress one level above their dress code for your interview. Example: If the office is very casual, dress business casual. If they are business casual, dress more business formal (suit).
9. Re-read your notes and prepare your own questions
Read over your research the night before or even when you are having breakfast that morning. Don’t memorize everything but ensure you know their service offerings or products, their vision/mission statement, and any top trends in the industry.
Write down a list of potential questions you would like to ask the interviewer. This always impresses!
Tip: Remember that an interview works both ways – you are interviewing the company to see if it’s the right fit for you just as they are interviewing you.
10. Arrive early
Leave yourself plenty of time to arrive at your interview location. There is nothing worse than panicking about being late.
Tip: Remember to have confidence in introducing yourself with a smile, confident tone and great eye contact.
Good luck in your big interview! With this preparation you will have confidence and show them what a great employee you will make!
What else do you do to prepare job interviews?