You’ve spent hours working on your resume and cover letter, and have sent it out to multiple businesses. Finally, after a week of waiting, you start receiving calls and emails asking to schedule an interview. You’re over the moon, but slowly begin to feel overwhelmed with the stress that comes with preparing for interviews. You don’t want to mess up, and lose your chance at working for one of your dream companies, so what do you do?
First, take a deep breath! Next, get focused and into prep mode. Start by checking out these eight steps we’ve put together which will help you ace any interview.
1. Review the job description
Nothing is worse than arriving at an interview and not understanding what the employer is looking for. Take the time to review the job description, and how you will be able to fulfill their needs. The job description is a great guide to help you prepare for the interview, the employer has already outlined the required specifications, experience, and qualities they want in their ideal candidate. So, take this and conduct a self-evaluation to determine if you will be the best fit for them.
2. Know the company
Research the company you’re applying to so that you understand the company culture and their goals. More often than not, interviewers will expect you to have some knowledge about what the company does or what the role entails. Walking into an interview with zero knowledge of what the company does can be a huge red flag against you. The basics you should know about the company include:
- The company’s product or service: Even though you might not be working directly with the product or service of the company, you should have some working knowledge about what they do and why they do it.
- The company culture: Before the birth of social media, it would be difficult to learn more about the culture of a company. But now, most modern businesses have social media accounts that you can stalk.
- The company’s accomplishments: These could be awards, accreditations, or achievements that they have earned throughout the years. Understanding what they have done in the past can give you a better idea of their aspirations.
If you don’t know what else to look for, just Google the company and see what pops up. Is it a news article that praises their accomplishments? Or a press release that talks about an upcoming event? The more you know about the company the better prepared you will be.
3. Prepare answers to common interview questions
Walking into any interview, there is no way to accurately predict what you’ll be asked, but it’s most likely there will be some general questions such as:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to work here?
- What interests you about the role?
- What is your biggest strength and weakness?
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
Take the time to think about how you would answer these questions, being prepared to answer a couple of questions can help ease your anxiety a little bit, and keep you relaxed. Every question that the interviewer asks you is an opportunity to highlight your qualifications and skills, so think of various examples you can share.
4. Practice interview etiquette
Having proper interview etiquette is important. Remember to greet the receptionist, interviewer, and anyone else you meet. During the interview, you should watch your body language, shake their hands firmly, make eye contact, pay attention, and be attentive. If you’re unaware of your body language or habits, have a friend or family member do a mock interview with you and record yourself. Review the recording and take note of what you should be aware of during the interview.
5. Check your social media
If all goes well with your interview, there is a high chance the interviewer will look you up on social media to get a better understanding of the type of person you are outside work. So, before you head into your interview, take a moment and review the posts and comments you’ve made on your accounts in the past, make sure you don’t have anything out there that could jeopardize this opportunity. Not sure what to look for?
6. Review your resume
Always take the time to review your resume, you should be doing this before you submit your application but sometimes things can be missed. Reviewing your resume can help you pick up any gaps or anomalies that interviewers may point out. Prepare your explanation and make sure it’s honest and logical.
For example, if you left out several years of work experience on your resume, have an answer as to why. Were you studying abroad? Taking care of a sick family member? Focused on your mental health? Interviewers want all the gaps filled in to get a full picture of who you are, and what makes you tick.
7. Don’t be late
Job interviews can be stressful, and sometimes just getting to the interview itself is a challenge of its own. The location may be far and public transit can be unreliable at times. Make sure you have alternative options for getting there. Google Maps at this point is your best friend, check how long it takes to drive or transit there, then plan accordingly. If you’re still having trouble looking up the location, reach out to the company and ask them for the information you need before the interview. Don’t leave this till the last minute!
8. Follow-up after the interview
It never hurts to send an email or hand-written note thanking the interviewer for their time. If they requested references or any additional information from you, this would also be the time to come back to them. Sending a follow-up thank you will demonstrate your professionalism and further signal your interest in the position.
Going to an interview can be a stressful experience, but being prepared can help reduce your stress and anxiety thus, allowing you to feel more confident and relaxed. Let LifeBrand help you relieve some of the stress by alerting you to any potential red flags your interviewer might find inappropriate on your social media profiles. Let us show you how quick and easy it is to scan your social media accounts with our free tool.