So you scored an interview? Congratulations! This is the moment every job seeker hopes for, but it’s also the moment in an application process where the real work begins. The trick to having a good interview is being well prepared — become an expert on the role, know your relevant skills, and build your confidence! If you’re wondering where to start, read on for five essential steps to nailing an interview.
When you research a company, you want to understand a few key points: culture, day-to-day tasks, and what you offer. Learn more about the culture by talking to colleagues who have interviewed at the company before, and ask about their experiences. If you don’t know anyone, read online reviews (Glassdoor.com is an excellent resource).
Next, break down the role. Can you visit a consumer-facing location? Are common tasks listed in the job description? Finally, you’ll want to think about what you bring to the table. Keep your relevant skills top of mind.
While every interview is different, practicing your answers to common interview questions is a great way to think through your responses and build confidence. Some common questions include:
- Walk me through your resume. Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Practice answering these with a friend or in front of the mirror. What experiences on your resume apply to this role? How can you put a positive spin on a weakness?
- Why do you want this job?
- Know your “why” for this role and this company. Being able to show your interviewer why you are the best match for this particular position will make you memorable.
Throughout the interview, remember to sell yourself. Think of responses that illustrate your skills in action, and tie them to specific examples that show, rather than tell, your merits. For example, instead of saying you’re a leader, describe a time you led a team and include the result of your actions.
Have at least one question that’s grounded in research, showing that you spoke to others in that role or read up about the position beyond the job description.
Tip: Don’t ask about salary or perks in your first interview. There will be a time to discuss those details once you wow them.
Before you go into your interview, take courage in knowing that you’ve prepared! If you go in confident and poised, you’ll be a stronger applicant. Before you reach the office, take three deep breaths, and adjust your posture so that your chin is up and your shoulders are back.
Once your interview is over, you still have a chance to impress. Your interviewer is more likely to remember you if you reach out with an anecdote, follow up question, or thoughtful gratitude. Thank you notes are essential! A follow-up email is fine, but handwritten notes go a long way.