Have you ever heard someone say, “I think I over-prepared for that test!”? Probably not. Well the same holds true when interviewing. It’s not to say that preparation alone will guarantee you a job, I'm not that naive. But, preparation is a key factor in building confidence. When you’re confident, you feel less stress, and when you’re less stressed there’s good chance that you’ll perform better.
Don’t skimp on the amount of time you prepare and don’t wait until you receive an interview invite. Job interview preparation should start early, so no matter how much notice you're given, you’ll be ready!
So where do you start? Here are 3 key subjects you should know better than anyone else:
First impressions are so important. You have less than 10 seconds before the other person has already made a judgement about you. So, make sure it’s a good one. Start of by knowing where you’re going, how to get there and don’t be late. Make sure your choice of clothing, greeting and handshake start things off in the right direction. Many employers like to conduct “telephone interviews” before any face to face interviews as a way to screen out applicants. Just because it’s over the phone doesn’t mean you’re free from first impressions. How you answer the phone and where you are when you take the call all factor into the decision making process.
Whether the interview is in person or over the phone, your next massive hurdle is how well you communicate. Whether you wrote your own resume or someone else helped you, it’s so important to know your resume inside and out. Knowing your own story will be an important determinant in how well you can answer the questions that are asked of you.
Interviews should be viewed as a two-way process. Be prepared with your own questions and ask questions that show your keen interest in the role and/or the company.
Just knowing the job title is not enough. Review the job posting and take some time to understand the duties and expectations of the role. Whoever prepared the posting did so with the intention of attracting the right candidate. There’s nothing more frustrating when speaking to an applicant and it’s clear that they don’t have a clue about the job. It’s pretty obvious when job seekers are using the tactic of throwing out resumes to any and all postings to see “what sticks”.
You can almost bet that the interview questions will focus on the key duties of the job. Look for similarities in your own experiences and where your skills match.
Most postings will mention who the position reports to and/or the department. Look online (LinkedIn is a valuable tool) to see what else you can find out about that person; chances are they will be part of the interview process.
Lastly, learn something about the company/organization that you’ve applied to. Most companies have a website and it really doesn’t take long to find out some key facts. See what you can learn about their financials, are they stable or are they on the brink of bankruptcy? Do they have a mission statement? What do they talk about in terms of employees (i.e. benefits, training or development)?
Finding a job can be a full-time job! But with the right preparation your search could end sooner rather than later!