Being one of the selected candidates for an interview can be extremely exciting. The fact that you were selected out of many candidates is an accomplishment in itself. But interviews can also come with a lot of pressure and bring unneeded stress and anxiety. To help reduce your nerves and allow you to bring your A game to your next interview, here are some tips to help you prepare.
Do Your Research
One of your first steps when preparing for any interview should be to do your research. To start, take a deep dive into what the job entails by highlighting key responsibilities and requirements listed on the job posting.
You also want to research the company. Try to gain an understanding of what the company does, who their competitors and customers are, and what makes them unique. A good place to start is by viewing their company website. However, you should also look at their social media for a good understanding of current events.
Once you have a thorough understanding of the company and the position you can create a list of why you want to work there and why this opportunity is a good fit for you. A common question you should be prepared to answer is “Tell me why you want to work here” so being able to provide specifics will demonstrate your interest and preparedness.
If you have the names of the hiring team, it’s also a good idea to do a bit of research about who you will be meeting with by taking a look at their LinkedIn profiles. This can give useful insight into how long they have been with the company, different titles they had, etc.
Preparing examples ahead of time will help relieve your nerves during the interview. Remember the key responsibilities that you highlighted from the job posting? Well, a good place to start is by brainstorming examples of your experience for each key responsibility. This will help you demonstrate why you’re a good fit and allow you to feel more comfortable as you’re not stuck on the spot trying to think of an example. Preparing this way can also make you feel more confident knowing that you have the skills needed for the job. If there are items that you haven’t experienced, don’t be afraid to communicate that and try to think of some similar projects you worked on or transferable skills that would help you in this area.
It also helps to prepare a 1-to-3-minute elevator speech about who you are and what makes you unique. Don’t be surprised if a hiring manager asks the common introduction question “Tell me about yourself”. Preparing bullet points that demonstrate who you are at a high-level including years of experience, education, certifications, and specialties will help you answer this with ease, leave a good fist impression and stat the interview off on a strong note.
After preparing some of the key points you want to highlight in your interview, if your still feeling nervous try practicing answering the questions. Set up a virtual call with a friend, or you could even record yourself. Whatever it takes so that you feel comfortable speaking about yourself.
Although it’s important not to memorize your answers, you still want to come across authentic.
For in-person interviews, it’s a good idea to arrive at the office 15 minutes early. This gives you time to take a few moments before entering the office and calm your nerves. If you aren’t familiar with the location, you may even want to drive by the day before or ask the recruiter or hiring manager if there are any specific entrance instructions you should be aware of.
In the case of a virtual interview make sure to test out your equipment first. Be sure that your camera and audio are working properly and test out your video to ensure that your background and lighting provide a clear image. Before joining the virtual interview, it is also a good idea to silence all computer and phone notifications so that you can give the interviewer your undivided attention. Lastly, even though it’s a virtual interview dress attire is still important, make sure to appear professional and dress as if you were going into the office.
Asking good and insightful questions is an easy way to help you stand out and gain clarity to help confirm if it is the right fit for you because at the end of the day although the hiring team is interviewing you, you are also interviewing them to make sure you make the right choice. You don’t want to be left in a situation where you don’t have any questions, so prepare several questions in case some of them are addressed by the hiring team already. When asking questions, it’s important not to ask questions that you could easily have researched ahead of time. Having a physical copy of your questions can be helpful, this leads to the next pointer.
Preparing notes can help calm your nerves and can also show that you’re invested in this opportunity and did your research. Having a notepad handy also allows you the opportunity to take note of what the interviewer is sharing in response to your questions.
Thank You Note
Show your appreciation to the interview panel by writing a thoughtful thank you card or email. Doing this shows your appreciation and will help you stand out.
Written By: Alex Smith
Note: This article is written as an opinion piece from the perspective of a Recruitment Specialist