What is your first step after finding out you landed that interview for your dream job? Google.
So there you go, the top steps on how to prepare for an interview, right? While this list can be helpful, it doesn’t expand much on what to do. Let’s dive deeper into what to do when preparing for an interview.
1. Research the organization
This step is crucial because as a future employee (positive thinking!) you need to get as much background information you can. Yes, Google is a good place to start, but go a step further and find their website, check the mission statement and values. Make sure you know something about the culture and not just what the company does. If the company has social media check that out— typically social media holds more recent information.
Also during this step, prepare questions to ask the hiring manager or recruiter. There will ALWAYS be time for a question from the interviewee, if you don’t have one, this shows you didn’t prepare like you were going to receive the position. There is no way the recruiter covered all the information you need to know about the company or position to the fullest.
2. Compare your skills and qualifications to the job requirements
Look at the job description and figure out what qualities you possess that will help you during the interview. Additionally, figure out which skills you might not have in your tool box – prepare to be asked for both highs and lows. Figure out the strengths and weaknesses you have for the position before the interview, making sure you’re aware of what you might be questioned about.
3. Prepare Responses
So far you have *hopefully* planned questions to ask the recruiter and figured out what strengths and weakness you have for this position. Now think about what matters to the employer and try to figure out what types of questions you might be asked. There are the typical ones like “tell me about yourself” which is answered with an elevator pitch, a short one minute answer covering your career story. There also will be questions like “tell us about a time you had a difficult experience with a coworker” and “how did you hear about us?” These are all common questions that generally come up in interviews. Outside of the typical questions, each interview has job-specific questions which are really the nuts and bolts of the job. The recruiter is trying to figure out if you have what it takes for this job.
4. Plan what to wear
Of course, this is critical for interview preparation. No one wants to experience that last-minute panic when those black blazer pants are in the wash and you forgot! Everyone has one outfit they love interviewing in because it makes them feel good. ALWAYS have a backup! Here are the basic tips and tricks for an interview outfit
5. Plan what to bring
Prepare a bag or briefcase to bring to the interview. Make sure to have everything in it. Pen, paper, the questions you’ve prepared, resume, cover letter (if needed), references, etc. Putting all documents in one folder looks very professional and shows the recruiter you’re organized. Just make sure everything fits in the bag nice and neat.
6. Follow Up
This seems so straight forward, yet very few individuals follow through with it. This could be a message on LinkedIn thanking the member of the organization you spoke to, or a quick email to your contact at the company. It’s the experience that counts, you learn something from every experience and individual you speak with. Where previously a handwritten note was the best way to thank someone, it’s not realistic in this day and age. If you’re going to do a handwritten note, make sure you also send an email to keep your name in the forefront of the recruiter’s mind. These notes show you really do care about the company and want to express your real passion for the position.