Job Candidates: Prepare for your Upcoming Interview
They called! You have an interview lined up for a new job, and you’re chomping at the bit. Once the excitement wears off, anxiety creeps in when you realize you’re not feeling as prepared as you thought you were.
No need to stress. Interview butterflies are common for most people. Let’s look at ways you can prepare for your job interview, so you go in feeling stronger and more confident.
First, think about why you applied for that particular job. You knew you’d be a good fit. You’re qualified. This is what you’ve been waiting for and working toward. Keep that in the back of your mind, as we go through a couple of details to help you get ready.
You’ve got this!
Practice answering common questions, so you know what you want to say and how to present yourself. Practice with a friend or family member. Feedback can help you build confidence in your answers.
Common Interview Questions:
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What can you tell me about yourself?
What do you know about our company and industry?
How do you handle working under pressure or with people who annoy you?
What are your goals within the company?
Do you have any questions?
Why should we hire you over the other applicants?
For more questions, check Monster.com and Indeed.com. Indeed.com also gives you examples of how you can answer these questions, so you know what is considered a good answer vs. one lacking. Sometimes a question is asked to bring out a certain response. Knowing what you’ll say before it’s asked will help you roll with the punches, rather than desperately reaching for an answer that doesn’t work for you.
An example is when asked about a negative, like your weaknesses, turn it into a positive. I’m an overachiever and can be hard on myself. I think it’s because I always want to give my best. You can also show your awareness of how you’ve improved a task over time. I used to get overwhelmed with a big project, but I’ve since learned when I break it down into smaller tasks, I recognize I have the skills to accomplish it and it doesn’t have to overwhelm me.
Other Ways to Prepare for an Interview
Have a “go-to” interview outfit that makes you feel confident. When you like how you look, you’ll feel good. And having an outfit that makes you feel professional puts out a message that you anticipate a business environment and knows how to dress appropriately. You’re sending little signals to the interviewer that you’re a solid candidate that knows what’s expected.
Etiquette matters. This is the business world, and what worked in college or maybe your last job that was more low-key won’t make it here. How you present yourself matters. How you speak matters. How you act matters. When hired, you’ll represent the company and you want to show them you’re capable of doing that in the best light.
Shaking hands, please, thank-you, all those tiny manners you were taught growing up come into play. It may seem silly, like they will be overlooked, but I can tell you they are not just looking to see if you’re capable of doing the job, but how will you be to work with, and around other people. There will be a mix of personalities, and your future employer wants to know how you present yourself.
Hygiene. As a grown-up, you know hygiene is important. When it comes to a job consider the circumstances. That means you’ve showered, your hair is neat, and your hands and nails are clean. Be pleasant, smell pleasant, and look pleasant. Take the time to remove the wrinkles from your clothing. Nothing looks worse than a suit or dress that looks like you’ve slept in it. It says you don’t care…and your future company wants you to care. It’s a necessity when making first impressions.
Be prepared. Know not just how you’ll answer interview questions but take the time to do your research. Don’t blow an opportunity because you couldn’t be bothered to do a little homework. Know what the company you’re interviewing with is about, and the industry. Be able to discuss it. It shows you have the incentive to do the work without being asked.
Another way to prepared is by knowing what to bring with you. If it’s a job where you’ll showcase a portfolio or certifications, have what you need at hand. Only present them if asked, as they may already know about these things, or may not want them. Having these items with you is a good practice to be in. Maybe they’ll ask for references. Have these handy.
Knowing what to do is just as important as knowing what not to do.
Turn your phone off or set it to vibrate. Do not interrupt the interview to look at your phone. Even if they stop to look at theirs. Your full attention should be on the moment, and on the interview. Put the phone away.
Don’t avoid eye contact. Eye contact is important and shows confidence.
Don’t avoid asking questions when asked. Even if it’s a small question, when they ask if you have any questions, show an interest. Have two or three in mind, so that you can think of one easily.
Don’t walk out and pretend it’s all behind you. Take the time to thank them for the opportunity to interview, whether it’s via an email or hand-written thank you note. It’s the little things people remember and stand out. It may be a small thing that makes a difference between two candidates.
Remember, you worked hard and applied for a position you know you’ll be able to do. Go in confidently and let them know why you’re a great fit for the job. And most of all, good luck!
*What tips or advice did I miss? What helps you be a strong, clear, and effective communicator? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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