Applying for jobs takes a lot of effort. For most of us, we have to work day in and out applying to perhaps hundreds of jobs in our quest for the right one. There will be many ups and downs as we continue to pour over our resume, tweaking it for every new position.
Then the day comes for an interview and whether we’re caught off guard or play it cool, there is an excitement we can’t ignore. Someone wants us. Someone wants to know more.
Before we get too excited though, we need to get ready. Just like we have a strategy or tactics that work to get the applications sent off, we need to craft a plan for the interview.
What to Research
Understanding what you’re getting yourself into is the most important step in any situation.
Not only do you want to know who is interviewing you, but you want to research what the company is all about. What is their mission? Do you agree with it? Can you see yourself working there in five years or twenty? Do they have a dress code?
Read over the job description again to understand what you need to know and what skills you will require to perform the job properly. This is a good time to recognize the keywords listed in the job description.
Once you understand what the company and job look like, review your work experience and schooling to see how it will align with the job.
Pro Tip: Your interviewer has your resume. Be prepared to elaborate on anything within it.
Things to Practice
There are many ways an interview can be performed.
· The Telephone Interview
· Video Interview
· The Face-to-Face Interview
· The Panel Interview
· The Group Interview
· Working Interview
When you practice, be mindful of what you know about your upcoming interview. You don’t necessarily want to practice specific questions. Get a feel for how comfortable you are answering the questions to maximize the following:
Building rapport is important for any relationship. You want to establish a connection so the conversation becomes more comfortable. A comfortable conversation is more engaging and you can delve further into what the company stands for and what the job entails.
Things you can use to build rapport are:
· Use the interviewer’s name
· Match body language
· Ask questions about the company and interviewer
· Show interest in the company
· Be honest
Your body language says a lot about you. You are always projecting your emotional state and telling people whether you’re approachable or not. When it comes to your interview, things like failing to match gazes or keeping your arms crossed can tell an interviewer that you aren’t interested in what they have to say.
When practicing your body language, you want to learn how to match the language of others. This matching process will help you achieve the rapport mentioned earlier.
We may all be aware of it, but it warrants special note that you want to practice being comfortable. You’re going to be excited and a little scared. This may translate into stage fright, especially if you’re required to perform a task during the interview.
Pro Tip: Every interviewer is different and many can spot canned answers.
It may be your lifelong dream to work for a company, but unless you be yourself in your interview, then it may not come to pass. You want to be honest with the interviewer and yourself. To the interviewer, answer their questions fully and without the cliché answers. The way you answer a question is as important as the answer itself.
Don’t panic. If someone asked what your biggest failure is, tell them. You don’t have to give full details, but explain how you got through the situation and anything you learned from it. Hiring officers understand that mistakes can happen, but what’s important is how we deal with them.
You have to be honest with yourself as you may learn during the interview that they company isn’t the right fit for you. You don’t want to just take any job; you want the right one. Hedging your bets and taking the first one that comes along doesn’t do anyone a good service when you quit three weeks later.
Following up is always a difficult concept unless you set the boundaries ahead of time. At the end of the interview, make arrangements for a follow up. The interviewer will have an idea of timing that you can use to follow up with them.
Your follow up then has two stages. The first is a thank you card or email, usually sent the next day. The second is a phone call at the agreed upon time. Recognize that the hiring officer is busy and may have several interviews to perform.
Remember. You’ve got this. Have faith in yourself and others will see it too.