The interview is scheduled! You are ecstatic, as well you should be. But now what? Now that you’ve achieved a certain level of job search success, you can really begin preparing and practicing! How will you perfectly prepare for the interview? Perhaps you need an interview preparation guide…
You’ve already done some preliminary research on the company, of course. But now it’s time to dig deep. The more you know about the company, its competitors and the overall market, the smarter you’ll appear.
Too often people fail to thoroughly prepare the job interview for this specific job at this company. In other words, they tend to treat each interview as generic in nature.
To help you avoid making this big mistake, follow this 10-step job interview preparation guide…
1. Get a Copy of the Most Current Job Description
Here’s why you need to ask someone in the company for the job description. What they’ve posted online may not be the full description or even the most recent version of the job requirements. It isn’t unusual for a company to have a different version of the job description for use internally. It may be more descriptive. There’s nothing wrong with asking the person scheduling the interview if they can send you the full job description. You may even reach out to someone you know inside the company and ask what they can find on the internal job posting site.
2. Prepare a Story for Each of the Job Requirements
Go through each requirement listed in the job posting and develop an answer for how you meet that specific requirement. A story is a concise and thorough way of mapping out what you did and what the outcome was. If you don’t have exactly what the company wants, you may have done something similar. Develop that story!
3. Prepare Answers to the Most Common Interview Questions
It is so important to practice each answer out loud. It sounds different when you speak your answer. Consider video recording yourself to evaluate your answer. Keep refining it until you own it. It shouldn’t sound rehearsed. It should sound natural! This takes practice!
4. Craft Your Opening Statement
You can pretty much count on this question, so prepare the best 1-minute response. The trick is to answer the question as if you were being asked, why should we hire you. Remember, you only have one minute to summarize the MOST IMPORTANT qualifications.
5. Research the Company
Use the company website to see what the say about themselves. You may even notice on their career page they have interviews with employees and information on what it is like to work there. But don’t stop here. Google the company and see what news is being mentioned. using their website, LinkedIn and on sites such as Hoovers Online, Forbes lists, and Dun & Bradstreet and Glassdoor company reviews.
If you can’t find the company listed anywhere, then visit your local library and speak to a reference librarian!
Before the interview, you should reach out to your network and ask what people know about the company. Do this BEFORE you accept an offer. The information you hear will help you assess the company while you interview.
Prepare to answer all of these questions: What do you know about us? What do we do? Who are our competitors? Why do you want to work here?
6. Know Something About the Interviewers
Thank goodness for LinkedIn. Go ahead and see where they used to work, what organizations and groups they belong to and even check out the recommendations other’s have written. You may want to search for them using Google too, and see if the news mentions them.
7. Prepare Smart Questions
In order to thoroughly understand the job and company, you’ll want to ask questions! There is a lot you want to know besides just the pay and benefits. So, ask questions to learn expectations, how the team functions, and more. Do not wait until the end of the interview to ask your questions. The best interview will be a conversation so plan to ask your questions throughout the interview.
8. Know the Format of the Interview
If you haven’t been told what the format of the interview will be, it is your right to ask. You want to be prepared and knowing the format will help you feel more comfortable. Will you be meeting one-on-one, as a panel, via phone, Skype or online video, and how long is the scheduled to last.
9. Bring Copies of Your Resume for Everyone
Don’t assume everyone will have a copy of your resume. The copy they have may be an ugly text version, so bring the nicely formatted resume. Printing it on nice quality paper isn’t required, however, it does seem more professional. But, if you really want to WOW the interviewers, consider bringing an infographic resume to supplement your traditional text resume.
10. Know Exact Dates
If you haven’t completed an application yet, be sure you have the exact dates and information to complete the application. No, you can’t say “see attached resume.” You need to fully and accurately complete the job application. It is a legal document, so do not lie, exaggerate or embellish.
Now that you’ve followed this step-by-step job interview preparation guide, you can be sure you’re ready for this job interview at this specific company.
Now, go win the job offer!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.
About the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!