How To Prepare for an Interview and Knock It Out of the Park
You’ve done it!
All the hard work and frustration associated with job-hunting has paid off! You got the phone call inviting you in for an interview. Now, the million dollar question is… How to prepare for it?
Naturally, you want your performance to knock it out of the ballpark with the hiring manager and result in a job offer. You know preparation for the interview is critical. Still, there’s a certain amount of uncertainty about just how to prepare.
Follow these five steps in your preparation and a lot of the anxiety will disappear:
Take a look at what you sent the hiring manager
Like many job seekers, you may have sent out hundreds (ok, this is perhaps a slight exaggeration) of resumes in search of that elusive next job. While it is natural and recommended to customize each to the position you are applying for, it is important you know exactly which resume and cover letter you sent for this particular position. After all, you want to be able to discuss anything listed on your cover letter or résumé. Then too, you may want to make several copies of the résumé to bring to the interview.
Compare your resume against the job description.
Look closely at the four or five top requirements posted for the position. Make a side-by-side comparison against these requirements; analyzing how your background matches up. Now, write out specific examples for each that demonstrate how you possess the posted skill/experience. Now, get in front of a mirror and practice reciting your examples OUT LOUD. Forget about how awkward it feels. Practice until your words flow naturally and you have an air of confidence in your delivery.
Research the company
Use the online tools available to you to learn about the company. Besides the company’s website, review LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for company information. Pay close attention to any information mentioned relative to your position. What employee news can you find about managers who may supervise your department? Notice any recent organizational changes in company management and read the company’s mission statement. How is the company’s stock performing? This research will enable you to formulate insightful questions that can be asked during the interview and make a positive impression on the hiring manager.
Come prepared to ask questions, but make them strategic!
Expect the interviewer to ask “Do you have any questions for me?” somewhere towards the end of the interview. It is imperative you are prepared for this. So, think of the two or three strategic and insightful questions that will impress the hiring manager. People are frequently hired based on their questions more than their answers. The reason for this is that well-thought-out questions display research, a deeper understanding of the position/company/industry and effort beyond the average job seeker. Your research about the company can help you in coming up with great questions. The major benefit of asking questions is that you can learn specifically what the challenges and problems are that they would want you to achieve. Then you can better discuss what experiences you have that parallel the problems, or perhaps are identical to the employer’s problems.
Search and destroy any “weak spots” associated with your resume before the interview.
Think about those areas where you might not be a perfect match. Then, prepare great responses should the hiring manager ask about a potential concern in this area. You don’t want to be caught off-guard, rambling a weak answer. Prepare answers in advance that will show you as confident and qualified to meet any challenges of the job.
A confident delivery puts both you and the interviewer at ease. And this confidence can best be achieved through preparation. It will make you perform better during the interview, whether that occurs face-to-face or over the phone. In the eyes of the hiring manager, the preparation he sees you have done before the interview will be perceived as a reflection of the work you will do as an employee.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to contact us at Key Corporate Services for all of your executive recruiting needs.