How to Prepare for a Job Interview
Getting an interview is a crucial part of landing a new job. This comes only after you have submitted your resume and been invited to a phone screen.
Whether your interview is virtual or in person, here are some things to keep in mind so that you can make the best impression on your prospective employer.
Research the Company
One of the first places you should start before preparing for an interview is researching the company. Take time to visit their website and even social media pages like LinkedIn and Facebook. Some businesses may share announcements via their social sites which can be helpful in staying up to date on the company.
It’s also helpful to look for any press releases or news articles about the business. These may give you a better understanding of the latest updates to their business and inform you of large endeavors. Press releases can also help you to understand the company’s product and service lines.
Lastly, get to know the company’s history and culture. It helps to have some facts ready to demonstrate your interest in the company. You can even use this information to help you create a list of questions to ask during your interview.
Read the Job Description
Equally as important as researching the company is knowing the qualifications for the position you’ve applied for. And carefully read and review the job description. Take note of the experience and skills that are required for the position. Then, review your own experience and write down any former positions you’ve held that you can relate to the job. When it comes time to sit down and conduct your interview, be ready to talk about how your experience and skills match the job description.
Ask for the Interview Agenda
Knowing in advance what the company is interested in will help you think through all the directions the conversation could go, and help you bring forward the points that you most want to make. Think of some general questions that will help you understand the employer’s needs. Some examples:
- Why is this position open?
- What do you enjoy most about working at this company?
- What is the next step in the interview process?
- When can I expect to hear back?
Use the STAR Approach
Behavioral interviews help employers understand how you have performed in other roles you have had. The interviewer may ask you if you have ever experienced a specific work situation, like having to handle an upset client. If you have had such an experience, they’ll ask you to describe how you handled the situation. The best way to answer this question is by using the STAR approach. STAR stands for:
S = Situation (Describe the Situation: Be Specific!)
T = Task / Technique (What was the Task / What approach did you use?)
A = Action (What action did you take?)
R = Result (What was the result of your action?)
Make a list of your many successes: related experience; technical interests; leadership examples; teamwork; communication; and, anything that captures how you are qualified for the role you’re interested in. Then apply them to the STAR framework so that your stories have a solid beginning, middle, and end.
Practice for Your Interview
Practice makes perfect, right? A few days prior to your interview, try rehearsing in front of a mirror. You can also ask a friend to role play as the interviewer. Spend some time to research the kinds of interview questions you would expect to hear, then write down your best answers. If you’re roleplaying with a friend, provide them with your list of questions, then practice answering them conversationally.
However, avoid over-practicing. An interviewer can ask a variety of questions, and if you’ve spent too much time only planning for specific ones, then questions you haven’t prepared for can cause you to feel nervous or throw you off. The main goal of practice should be to help you feel less nervous and more relaxed during your interview.
Some Final Tips to Help You Prepare
When it’s time to sit down and have your interview, be sure to do a few simple things to show that you’re both prepared and giving the interviewer your full attention:
- Turn off your phone
- Have a copy of your resume on hand for reference
- Dress appropriately
- Be confident and make good eye contact
- Before answering a question, take a moment to consider the question carefully; don’t immediately rush into an answer
- When answering questions, speak in a controlled tone; avoid letting nervousness cause you to speak too quickly or too slowly
With proper preparation, you’ll enter your interview feeling relaxed and confident.
Are you searching for a new, rewarding career? The High companies span multiple industries and are looking for talented applicants to fill roles across a variety of roles. Learn more about High companies or reach out and contact us if you have any questions about current career availabilities.