Research should always be your first step. Gathering background information about employers is crucial for successful interview prep. Be prepared to answer questions like “What do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?” Knowing as much as possible about the company’s past performance and future plans can make your interview more interactive and could be just the leg up you need in a competitive job market. Before the interview, review the company’s website and search the web to gather as much knowledge about the company for your interview arsenal as possible. It is also a great idea to know the full name of your interviewer(s) and prepare questions that are specific to the role and the company you are interested in.
Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Practice with a friend and record or videotape your responses so you can replay the interview and see how well you did. Prepare and memorize answers to commonly asked interview questions. Doing so will help you analyze your background and qualifications for the position.
Behavioural interviewing is becoming more common, and is based on the premise that a candidate’s past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Rather than the typical interview questions on your background and experience, you will you need to be prepared to provide detailed responses including specific examples of your work experiences.
The best way to prepare is to think of examples where you have successfully used skills you’ve acquired. Take the time to compile a list of responses to both types of questions and to itemize your skills, values and interests, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Emphasize the practical: how will your demonstrated skills benefit the company? Also prepare a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Remember, you aren’t simply trying to get the job – you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.
It is very important to be on time for the interview and when it comes to interviews, “on time” means ten minutes early. Do a test drive: practice your commute to the office ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going, how long it will take, and where you can park – if you are driving. Don’t forget to bring an extra copy of your resume, a notepad, and a pen!
This is your opportunity to shine. When greeting the interviewer make eye contact, smile, extend a firm handshake, and clearly articulate your answers. And remember, the best way to feel confident is to be completely prepared. As long as you know your stuff, you will shine.
Most interviewers understand the inevitable nerves that rear up when you are on the spot. Take comfort in the fact that nearly everyone has been in your position before and try to stay calm. Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what’s been asked and remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to frame your responses so you can be sure to fully answer the question.
End the interview with a thank you to the interviewer and reiterate your interest in the position. Follow-up with a personal “Thank You” note or email restating your interest.
First impressions count, and looking as professional as possible ensures your interviewer knows you mean business. Here are a few tips to ensure your appearance communicates how employable you are:
It helps to know what you are heading into. Here are some of the most common interview questions that you should prepare to answer: