After creating and submitting numerous resumes, you’ve been contacted and you’ve set up a time for an interview. You feel excited! Before you attend the interview, there are steps that you can take to increase your chances of getting the position. You need to convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate. Interview preparation will help you do that. The following are some tips and tricks for preparing for and performing a job interview.
- Do your research: Learn about the business where you’re hoping to work. Pay attention to the mission statement, company culture, recent news and social media accounts. This will give you insight into the organization’s plans, goals and methods. If possible, find out the name of your interviewer and research him/her as well. If you have time, look into the company’s competitors to help determine what sets the organization apart.
- Be clear about why you want the position: Prepare three to five selling points (what makes you the best candidate, how your experience prepares you for the position) and be prepared to explain why you want the job (what interests you about the position, what it offers you).
- Learn about the company’s products/services to help you prepare to respond to job-specific questions. Read the website’s product or service page(s). Visit review sites to discover what customers and employees have to say about the company’s products/services. Find out about the most recent developments or innovations happening inside the company. Discover what makes the company better/different than its competitors. Become familiar with their competition.
- Think about salary: Be ready to have the money conversation as you may be asked about salary expectations. Do a bit of salary research to figure out how you wish to answer.
- Prepare your defence: Think of reasons that a company may not want to hire you (not enough experience, no matching skill set, overqualified, poor fit with company culture) and prepare to promote yourself (You should know . . . I may not have . . . but).
- Practice for interview questions: Research common questions for the job you’re interviewing for and prepare your answers. Practice with a friend or in front of a mirror. Prepare a few stories to relate that emphasize your strengths, skills, contributions and creativity. Record your answers and then play them back to see where you need to improve.
- Compose questions for the interviewer: Come to the interview with two or three intelligent questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your earnest intent. Pay attention during the interview so that you can come up with one or two more questions.
- Prepare for skill tests: If you’re preparing for a technical interview and/or you’ve been told there will be a skill test during your interview, prepare and practice. Working through a prep book or sample questions puts you in a problem-solving mindset.
- Plan for being caught off guard: You can’t prepare for everything! You can prepare to handle the unexpected. Consider repeating a question to give yourself time to think before answering. Give yourself time to consider the question with a phrase such as “Now that’s a great question! I think . . .”
- Create an interview cheat sheet: Use a cheat sheet to compile all the details you need to remember. Jot down notes regarding what you want to say. Make a list of essentials that you wish to bring to the interview. Print one out for every interview, and read it over the morning of the meeting.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Sleep deprivation can throw you off causing you to be less than your best at the interview. Ensure you get a good night’s rest.
- Arrive prepared: Bring a copy of your resume, a notebook, pen, copies of letters of recommendation, licenses, transcripts and a portfolio of work samples (if applicable).
- Consider your appearance: Dress appropriately. Make eye contact. Speak clearly and have good posture. Turn off your cell phone and smile. Your appearance makes an impression.
- Check your demeanour: Sit up straight, leaning slightly forward. Smile and show your personality.
- Pay attention to the first five minutes: Some research indicates that interviewers make their decision in the first five minutes of a meeting and use the rest of the interview to confirm their choice. Take advantage of the first five minutes by coming in with energy, enthusiasm and appreciation. Begin with a positive comment about the company.
- Be assertive: Be polite but not passive. It’s your responsibility to make sure the interviewer knows your key selling points and why you are the best fit for the position.
- Display confidence: Shake hands firmly. Maintain eye contact. Listen attentively. Give honest and direct answers to all questions. Confidence is attractive and impressive.
- Give specific examples: To help a hiring manager understand your experience, be specific about your skills and your ability to handle tasks.
- Keep answers short and on topic: Make your answers concise, getting to the point quickly and effectively.
- Answer with enthusiasm: Speak passionately to show your interest. Fluctuate your voice tone. Smile at appropriate junctures. Highlight simple emotions to keep the interviewers interested and listening. Talk with your hands.
- Leave a good impression: End the interview by expressing your interest in getting the job and communicating your excitement about the position. Explain why you think you’re a good match.
- Send a thank you: One to two days after the interview, send a handwritten or emailed thank-you note customized to refer specifically to what you and the interviewer discussed (I was excited by . . . What you said about . . . I found it interesting . . .). Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration, and reiterate your interest in the position. Ask further questions. Restate your strengths and relevant experience. Ask when the employer plans to make a choice and indicate your intent to contact the company to learn their decision.
- Follow up: If you haven’t heard from the company after one week, call or send a follow-up email. Reconfirm your interest. Ask if there is any further information that they need from you. Keep the lines of communication open.
Even when you’ve landed an interview, don’t relax. Follow these tips and tricks to prepare for and undertake your interview, ensuring it’s a success and increasing your chances of receiving an offer for the position. Reduce your stress/anxiety by planning and preparing. It will help you feel more confident, relaxed and affect your performance.
Looking for a new position? Interested in some expert advice and assistance? Call the Calgary recruiting agency, Equation Staffing Solutions at 1-844-367-9618. We are a reliable, innovative, collaborative agency here to support you in your search for a position and/or personnel. Our experience will assist you! Contact us today.