Congratulate yourself if you’ve been invited to a job interview. It means your resume is doing what it’s supposed to do and represents a series of wins that put you in the top 10% of the pack. But don’t get too comfortable. You are now entering the real competition. Take a walk through these interview preparation tips and then get cracking. You’ve got a job to win.
Get The Interview Details Down Solid
Make sure you carefully record details such as the exact location of the interview and the name and title of the person you’ll meet. Figure out your driving or public transit route in advance and add in extra time for unexpected delays. If you’re driving to a downtown location, give yourself additional time to park and arrive at the interview location. If necessary, time it by doing a dry run–just make sure you do it at the same time of day as your interview.
Write down three of your greatest accomplishments. Describe the skills you used to create the results and what you learned from each event.
Research The Company’s Website
Spend some time on the company’s website. How much can you learn about their industry and market goals? Look for an awards, events, or press release page. The ‘about’ page will reveal their mission or overall goals and it just might include notes on the leadership team. Google the company name to find industry news about them.
Mining LinkedIn for Gold
LinkedIn is a favoured tool for recruiters but most job seekers don’t use it fully to their advantage. For instance, it’s easy to look up the person you’ll be meeting with to see their job title and learn something about what they do. You can also find out lots more about the company and even locate people within your network who work there now or did so in the past.
In case you’ve never seen all the search capabilities within LinkedIn, we’ve included a screen shot of the main page to get you started.
1. Click the arrow next to the search box to reveal the drop down menu.
2. Search for people by name.
3. Search LinkedIn’s corporate listings for a company profile.
4. Use advanced search to find people in your network who currently or previously worked for a certain company.
Analyze The Job
Study the job description or job ad to pull as much out of it as possible. Use information from the company’s web site. You may also search LinkedIn for profiles of people currently or formerly in the same role to see what you can learn about it. Take everything with a grain of salt and be prepared to ask confirming questions during the interview to make sure you have an accurate picture.
Although every interview will be unique, there are a few questions that you just know will come up. Practicing your responses will help you speak more clearly and will also boost your confidence. Remember to include questions you’re hoping they won’t ask. Curious about what the most popular interview questions are? Head on over to 50 Top Job Interview Questions To Prepare For.
Know Your Accomplishments
This is the fun part of interview preparation. If you’ve never done this before, it could take you a couple of hours but it’s worth every minute. It will help you understand what you’re really good at and what kind of work makes you happiest. Write down three of your greatest accomplishments. Describe the skills you used to create the results and what you learned from each event. Interviewers don’t just want to know what you’ve done–they need to know how you did it and what you learned. Think of the ways you needed to adapt or change to get results. Now that you have a solid picture of your strengths and abilities, you’ll want to work these examples into the job interview.
Prepare Questions To Ask Your Interviewer
Most interviewers will leave time at the end of the meeting for you to ask questions about the company or the position. This is a golden opportunity, so be ready! You might not know this but it’s disappointing when candidates have no questions. Remember, you’re not the only one “selling” during the interview. While you’re selling your skills and abilities, your interviewer is selling their company and the position. No sales person wants to hear a prospect say they have no questions because no questions is interpreted as no interest.
Here’s a killer question to ask: What are their expectations of the new employee over the first 90 days? This should start an informative conversation around the success measures and performance metrics of the role. If you’re meeting with HR and they don’t know the answer to that one, rest assured–they’ll be happy you asked and will probably relay that to the hiring manager. It shows you’re giving serious thought to the role and especially to the contribution you can make. Avoid the temptation to ask about benefits and holidays. That comes later. If you’re feeling stumped on what questions to ask, take a look at the list on “For Job Seekers: Great Questions to Ask Your Interviewer“
Get Ready To Do This Before You Leave The Interview
Start thinking about how you will follow up with your interviewer in the coming days and weeks. You will want to send a thank you email or card to each person you meet–so be ready to collect email or physical addresses before leaving the interview. Make a note to remind yourself to pick something specific from the interview to bring up in your thank you note. It will help you be memorable.
Try to enjoy the process as much as possible. You won’t get every single job you interview for but you will have the opportunity to make valuable connections and learn about other businesses along the way.
Guest Author Bio: Susan Wright-Boucher is a Canadian recruitment professional specializing in employer branding and online marketing. She writes for Plugged In Recruiter and welcomes new connections on LinkedIn.