As an Interview Coach, I know how stressful job interviews can be. It’s never easy to prepare for an interview, especially if you’re busy, nervous, or if the interview’s coming up quickly.
I’ll start off by saying that you definitely need to make sure you do everything you need to do the day before, in terms of getting your outfit ready, figuring out how you’re going to get there, and planning to get there early. Make it as easy as possible on yourself by doing a little bit of planning so you don’t have to worry about rushing to get there. However, in this article – I want to talk about how to prepare so you can actually perform well in the interview itself!
How to Prepare for a Job Interview – Tip #1 – Research, research, research!
Surprisingly, a lot of people end up skipping this step! Although it seems obvious, it’s really important to do a lot of research in advance of your interview and I highly recommend it. The more you know, the more confident you will feel during your interview. There are three key areas that I recommend researching to learn more about the company.
Job Posting – Depending on how you applied, chances are that there is a job posting for the position you applied for. Spend some time reviewing the posting to examine the job posting in detail to get a better idea of what they’re looking for. Think about it honestly – do you meet all the requirements of the role? Are there some requirements you don’t meet?
For the areas where you meet the requirements – these will be your key selling points. During the interview, make sure you talk about your skills, experience, and personal qualities that match the job description.
If you don’t meet all the requirements, keep in mind that you may be asked about these areas. Try to plan ahead to see how you’ll address these types of questions. Can you describe similar experiences? Or talk about how you’re excited to get more experience in those areas?
Company Website – Reviewing the company website can help you learn more about what the company does, the current team, and the company values. It’s important to show the interviewer that you’re interested in the company to the point where you’ve already done some research and demonstrated that you want to be part of the organization.
Things to research:
- Current projects or activities – i.e. what does the company actually do? Depending on your role and the size of the company, sometimes this isn’t always known to you. If you aren’t sure what the company does, make sure you learn this information!
- Company values and mission statement – this hints at what is important to the company. You can refer to these values in the interview.
- Current team – who works at the company? What do they do there? How big is the team? This can help you to understand how you can contribute and what your role may look like.
Company Social Media – As with the above, company social media accounts can be helpful in learning more about the company. If they have social media, it’s worth reviewing it to see what they post about. This can help you to understand the company’s activities, values and team members more clearly.
How To Prepare for a Job Interview – Tip #2 – Figure out Your Strategy.
In order to really excel at a job interview, you need to develop a strategy. Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to think about how you can demonstrate that you’re the right fit for the role. To be successful in a job interview, you can’t just go in and “wing it” – you need to sell yourself and tell the interviewers why you’re the right fit for the role.
That could sound intimidating/challenging/downright terrifying…. but I promise you – it’s not that hard!!
Read the job description carefully and think about whether you have all the relevant experience. Try asking yourself the following questions.
What are my most important qualifications for the role?
Based on the job description and what I know about the company, what experience and past projects would be most impressive to the employer?
What might set me apart from other potential applicants for this role? This could include qualifications, personal qualities, education, or anything that might be relevant.
Do I have an elevator pitch for why I’m the right person for this role?
Are there any qualifications for the role that I don’t have? If there are qualifications for the role that you don’t meet, ask yourself if there is another way you could demonstrate that you have the required skills (or similar skills).
How to Prepare for a Job Interview – Tip #3 – Practice Out Loud.
Once you’ve determined what your selling points are, your next step will be preparing your answers. You’ll need to think about and prepare answers for common interview questions, behavioural interview questions, and situational questions.
Once you’ve brainstormed your answers, it’s time to practice! This is a seriously important part of getting ready for the interview that many people forget about. You’ll start to feel more comfortable and confident in delivering your answers the more you practice.
How you practice is important too – make sure you practice out loud. Whether you can do it with a friend or family member, or even if it’s just on your own in front of a mirror, practicing your answers out loud is the best way to improve your interviewing skills quickly.