Preparing for an interview takes a lot more than Googling a list of common interview questions (though yes, you should 100% be ready for those). You have to make a great first impression (no showing up in wrinkly suits or running late!), know about the company and its products and mission, and, of course, convey exactly why you’d be a great hire for this job.
Much of how you prepare for an interview will rely on the particulars of the position, the business, and even who will be interviewing you and how.
1. Examine the business
Spend a couple of hours gathering as much information as you can on the business from as many sources as you can. Find current and former coworkers by asking around in your network. You should also study recent press releases and, yes, spend some time on Google. Candidates frequently only look at the information that a company promotes on its website and social media accounts and neglect to dig deeper into what others are saying.
2. Discover all there is to know about the open position
You must be aware of what the interviewer is seeking before you can convince them that you’d be a terrific hire. Fortunately, the majority of companies have clearly stated their requirements for candidates in the job description. Return to the job description you read before applying. What qualifications and experiences do they highlight? What issues will this hire have to address? Throughout the interview, you should focus on these points.
3. Try out the business’s goods or services (if you can)
Before the interview, test any products the company sells that you might be able to check out (ideally, a few times). Being a user yourself is the first step in creating value for the people who use that product if you are employed. Additionally, it will demonstrate to the hiring manager your genuine interest in the position.
4. Discover the interviewers’ backgrounds without being weird!
Ask if you aren’t told who you will meet with during the interview. Learn the responsibilities of each interviewer in the organization and prepare some questions tailored to each of them. You can inquire about their responsibilities, talk about recent developments in their industry, or bring up a hobby they share outside of work (just stick to one mentioned in an easily accessible spot, like their company bio or LinkedIn profile).
5. Discover the type of interview you’re going to and get ready for it
Ask what you will confront during the interview because different organizations utilize different interview formats. For instance, some employers may ask you to have a one-on-one interview with several different employees, while others may want you to meet with numerous individuals simultaneously or give a presentation during the interview. . It is quite OK to inquire about the interview format in advance with the recruiter or HR contact. Once you are aware of it, taking the time to learn this technique can have a significant impact.
Review popular interview techniques and questions.
You should then put what you’ve learned to use by practicing some interview methods and preparing responses to frequently asked questions.
6. Determine how you can stand out for this position
Even if you are a pro at conducting interviews, it is crucial to take the time to consider carefully which abilities, successes, and interview responses will resonate with your interviewers the best for this position. Your management capacity? Your originality? Revisit your research to determine your strongest qualifications.
7. Be prepared to introduce yourself to the interviewer
You should have a prepared response to “Tell me about yourself” for every interview that is specific to the position and employer. To begin the conversation, interviewers nearly always ask this or a question like “Walk me through your resume,” so you want to be sure you’re starting on the proper foot.
8. Understand the reasons for your interest in the job and the firm
You’ll probably be asked why you’re interested in this specific position and organization. To ensure you can respond, list a few salient aspects of the position and the company that meshes well with your skills, hobbies, and/or work style that excite you about the opportunity. (And if you can’t answer this question, you shouldn’t be in the interview.) Even if you aren’t expressly questioned about this, you can still use this to guide how you respond to other inquiries.
Related:20 good signs you got the job
9. Investigate salaries
The question of your wage expectations may still be posed to you even if you’re not ready to have the money chat. Do a little pay research to determine your response so you won’t be taken off guard and provide (or agree to) a ridiculously low number.
10. Get your stories ready
Most interviews will ask at least a few behavioral questions, or inquiries about your past behavior or hypothetical actions. You can prepare a few anecdotes about your previous work experiences that you can adjust as necessary, even though you can’t predict every scenario you might be questioned about.
11. Familiarize yourself with the STAR method
Whenever you’re answering interview questions with a story, you want to make sure that story is well structured and the takeaway is clear. Your goal should be to give your interviewer all the context they need to understand what happened while still answering the question clearly and concisely. One way to do this is by using the STAR method. STAR stands for:
Situation: Briefly lay out the scenario using just enough detail that the interviewer will understand the stakes and everything else in your answer.
Task: Talk about what your role in the situation was.
Action: Discuss what you did and why.
Result: Tell your interviewer about the outcome and what you learned.
Be aware that you might wish to slightly modify this structure for some queries. Consider defining what leadership means to you before discussing a circumstance where, for instance, you showed leadership qualities. However, the STAR approach will guarantee that your stories always have a start, middle, and end.
Related:30+ strengths and weakness for a job interview
12. Note down significant figures and information
Keep in mind the numbers! Find some income statistics, engagement statistics, team or budget sizes, time savings percentages, or anything else you can use to demonstrate your influence. When discussing your duties and achievements or responding to behavioral interview questions, including some specific data sweetens the deal and helps you convince the hiring manager of your awesomeness.
13. Review your interview techniques
Although it matters a lot, how effectively you answer interview questions is not everything. Additionally, interviewers are consciously or unconsciously assessing how well you employ other interview techniques like small talk, active listening, and empathy. These abilities not only make you look good during an interview but also assist the interviewer to get a feel for what it could be like to work with you as a colleague.
14. Practice your responses to typical interview questions rather than memorizing them
You should become familiar with typical interview questions, but don’t write out your complete response in advance; instead, make a few notes or bullet points and keep them nearby for the actual interview. You’ll guarantee that you cover all the bases without following a script. You’ll guarantee that you cover all the bases without following a script. Practice answering them aloud while gazing into the mirror. You will be able to think more clearly and feel much more at ease during the interview as a result of your preparation.
Related:30+ questions to ask in an interview as an employee
15. Consider your body language
Review the messages that various body language signals. Be conscious of the message you’re conveying by your stance and posture, and make sure it’s positive. Think through your actions in advance to avoid becoming distracted (or distracting) during the interview. For instance, sitting with your arms and legs crossed conveys that you are closed off or feel defensive.
Think through your movements in advance to avoid being (or being a distraction during) the interview. If you’re being interviewed on camera, consider how you’ll demonstrate that you’re paying attention by, for example, placing the Zoom window close to your camera so you’re not looking away from them or using nonverbal cues to demonstrate your attention without cutting off their microphone.
16. Try some mock interviews
If you have the time, do a few mock interviews with a friend or loved one. You’ll be much better at answering, “What would you bring to the position?” the 100th time you do it and you’ll know ahead of time where you want to put your hands or how you want to sit.
17. Write down questions you’ll ask them
Most interviews will wrap up with “Do you have any questions for me?” and you should have some questions. You can start with this list of interview questions to ask, but you should also plan some questions that are very specific to the job and company. And prepare more than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to ask questions that have already been answered or be left without any backup options if the interviewer already touched on your first two questions during your conversation.
18. Plan for what you’ll do if you’re caught off guard
You can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare to handle the unexpected like an interview question you don’t know how to answer. For example, you can come up with a go-to phrase that’ll help you avoid dead air if you need time to stall and gather your thoughts. Two strategies that work well are repeating the question thoughtfully before answering or saying (slowly), “Now, that is a great question. I think I would have to say…”
19. Prepare for technical interviews or skill tests
If you’re getting ready for a technical interview or you’ve been told there will be a skill test during your interview, start preparing and practicing as early as possible. Working through a prep book or sample questions will not only give you good practice, but it’ll also put you in the right problem-solving mindset.