The time for an interview with the company of your dreams (at least, we hope it is) has come, but are you ready for it? Interviewing effectively can be a difficult task but with the proper preparation (your experience, and that of the interviewer) it can go smoothly, and possibly land you the job! The following guide will help you to prepare for your upcoming interview(s) so that you can confidently take the interview head on and knock your interviewer’s socks off.
Are you prepared to interview for your dream job?
Research as much as you can
Hopefully it is obvious that you should look into the company in-depth, and you should have already completed some research when you were searching for a job. These are a few things you should already know, when going for an interview:
*Remember you are showing your interest in the company and industry knowledge.
- History / Mission / Values
- How are they performing in the industry / Growth patterns
- Reputation / News
- Future plans (this can be a great question for the interviewer as well)
- Competitors? Performance compared to competition?
- What does the position being applied to consist of?
- Company culture? –Hint: Check publications, blogs, social media, etc.
- Who you are interviewing with?
Utilize the networking efforts you have made
The network that you have may be able to offer insight into the company, which can be an opportunity to learn more about the hiring process, history, culture, etc. by following the company on social media and connecting with current employees
- Check for alumni from your college who may have affiliations with the company.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out directly to people from the company, people that work or have worked for the company will have valuable information for you.
- Be sure that what you are sharing on social networks is professional. *Note: Clean up your profiles prior to your job search!
Review your resume
The resume that you sent to the company should have been your most recent resume that was in “tip top” shape. However, it is important to review it before the interview. Prepare yourself to answer questions about any discrepancies interviewers may find.
*Note: Always be prepared to discuss anything that is written on your resume while interviewing.
- Review the skills you are equipped with, what skills can you highlight that are relevant to the position? How can your other skills transfer to the position?
- Review your experiences, what are your experiences that are most relevant to this position?
- What are the relevant accomplishments you can highlight?
Understand the Interview Type
Since you already found out who you will be interviewing with, there is opportunity to find information about the interviewers, at the very least ask what type of interview you will be attending (phone or video screening, one-on-one, panel, peer group, luncheon, second or series.)
- If in a panel or peer group interview address the person who asks a question but do not forget to make eye contact with the other people there as well. The best way to present yourself to a group is amicable, agreeable, and approachable.
- Get the business cards of everyone participating in the interview, thank them all for their time and consideration.
No interview will be the same, some questions may be repeated while others may come up for the first time. Having some prepped answers that focus on the things you want to emphasize can help.
- What the company needs vs. what you have to contribute
- Strengths, weaknesses, how you overcame said weaknesses, challenges you’ve faced.
- Why are you interested in the field, company, position?
- Previous positions and why you left. Don’t speak badly about prior companies, your bosses or their employees.
- What are your career goals? How will working for the company help you to reach them?
- Personalize your answers by incorporating a story about yourself into them.*Tip: When you prepare questions to ask the interviewer(s) consider asking about what your research could not tell you. What will best help you determine how you will fit in at the company or in the specific position?
Make sure that you have the following before leaving for your interview
Tip: Leave early to arrive early! Try testing out the drive beforehand if possible.
- Cash (for tolls, gas, etc.)
- Resume copies
- Work samples / portfolio
- Notepad & pen
- A list of references
*Note: Your references should all be aware that you are using them as references!
- Cheat sheet
- Business cards