It’s easy to become overwhelmed by a job interview. There are so many different things to remember when interviewing. Give your interviewer a firm handshake. Make eye contact. Have questions to ask the interviewer at the end.
It’s important to actively prepare for your interview. If you’ve got another interview scheduled on the calendar and are eager to nail it, here is our fool-proof guide for crushing your next job interview.
1. Research the Role and the Company
“The key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. You want to be selling what the buyer is buying.”
Doing the bare minimum doesn’t show the interviewer your dedication or your interest in the job. If you really want to be hired, you have to show your interest in the company. It will also help you to be less anxious and nervous if you thoroughly prepare for an interview.
You’ll need to invest time into gaining a thorough understanding of the company — its previous achievements, its current goals, and how what you bring to the table can help them grow. If you can find out more about their team, all the better. Understanding industry trends will also be helpful when talking about the big picture and can impress an interviewer.
Check out their company’s website, including their social media pages, and reach out to anyone you know who has any association with the company or a company similar to the one you’re in. You’ll be able to learn more about their company culture and mission and make sure your values align with the companies. You’ll probably be asked at some stage during the interview why you want to work there, so this kind of research will prepare you for that question.
Don’t forget to research the role itself and see how your past experiences and skills line up with that role and make it easy to show the correlation to the new job from the skills you already have during the interview.
2. Answer Their Questions the Right Way
Some of the most common interview questions include
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Tell me about a time you failed.
You should prepare answers for common interview questions, like the ones listed above. In addition, you should research what specific questions the company tends to ask. Sites like Glassdoor and Quora often provide a list of company-specific questions. Find out what these questions are and prepare thoughtful answers to those questions. Even if they never come out during the interview, you will have developed a script that will come in handy to answer related questions.
With most of your answers try to give a specific example. A tip to help you structure your answer is to use STAR, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result: briefly outline the situation and your task or objective, then provide details of what you actually did – your role and input. Finally, tell them what the result was – did you achieve your goal or deadline? Be prepared for follow-up questions, which might ask for more details of what you did, or require you to reflect on the way that you approached the task.
Remember that practice makes perfect. You shouldn’t memorize your answers word for word but giving yourself the time to write down the questions you expect to be asked and think about an effective answer for each one will help you.
Have someone you know help you prepare by asking you the questions on your list and practicing your answer back to them. The experience of speaking your words out loud to someone else will give you more confidence. Or set up your phone or computer to record yourself while you answer the questions so you can watch and listen back to it in order to refine your answers.
3. Ask the Right Questions
The interviewer will likely ask the majority of the questions, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your own to ask! Asking questions about the role and company will not only help you get a better understanding of whether or not you want to work there but will also impress the hiring team.
Think of a question that they probably haven’t heard of before, or that challenges them to think differently:
- Ask the interviewer why they joined the company and what they like about working there.
- What do the companies most successful employees do differently?
- What does someone in the role I’m applying for need to do in the first 2 to 3 months to succeed?
- What is one of the biggest problems your company is facing and if I’m hired, how could I help solve that problem?”
Whatever you do, make sure to have at least a couple of questions prepared ahead of time.
4. Remember that First Impressions are Very Important
Whether you’re interviewing in person or over video like zoom or Google Meets, first impressions are very important. Three-quarters of interviews fail within 3 minutes of entering the room. If you’re on video, dress in a collared shirt and make sure your background is presentable. Double-check your lighting, camera, and microphone beforehand to make sure there aren’t any problems during the interview. Set up your computer so your camera is on a good level and sit up straight so you look relaxed and interested.
If you’re in person, remember to shake hands firmly, make eye contact, keep good posture, and speak clearly and confidently. Try to relax without perching on the edge of your chair, but don’t slouch either. Speak clearly and not too fast. Give yourself a moment to think about your replies. Avoid fidgeting and using phrases like “you know”, “like”, and “I mean”.
Are you coming off as polished and confident? Or are you scatterbrained, in-concise, or verbose? I’ve seen many people that have the right qualifications not get the job because they do not clearly convey the linkage between their experience and what the company is looking for from a candidate.
Following up with a genuine, seal-the-deal thank you note is also always a good idea. Taking the time to send either a handwritten note or email to your interviewer will not only help you to stand out but will also give you a chance to clear up any mistakes you may have made that seem important to clarify.
An anxious candidate is one that will be prone to making mistakes, such as saying the wrong thing at a crucial moment during the interview. On the morning of the interview, exercise to burn off excess energy and increase endorphins that will boost your confidence. Immediately before the meeting, focus on your breathing. This will help you to lower your heart rate and help give you a clear head. Following these steps will help you walk into the interview ready to overcome any challenge.
Keep these tips in mind, but most importantly, remember to take a deep breath and be yourself. If you bomb an interview and aren’t selected to move forward to the next step, don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up and learn from your failure- so you can crush it at your next interview!
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