Prepare for an Interview

Interview preparation is a critical step in the job search process. It involves getting ready to present your skills, experiences, and personality in the best possible light to a potential employer. Use the resources below as a guide as you prepare to interview.

 

Research the Company:
Company Background: Understand the company’s history, mission, values, and culture.
Recent News: Stay updated on recent news and developments related to the company.

Understand the Job:
Job Description: Thoroughly review the job description and requirements.
Skills Match: Identify how your skills and experiences align with the needs of the position.

Establish Your Salary Expectations:
Research Salary Ranges: While you should not be the one to bring up salary in a first interview, be knowledgeable on what is standard for your field and experience level in case you are asked.

Know Your Resume:
Review Your Resume: Be prepared to discuss your resume in detail.
Highlight Achievements: Identify specific accomplishments and experiences relevant to the job.

Common Interview Questions:
Practice Responses: Anticipate and practice responses to common interview questions.
Behavioral Questions: Be ready to provide examples of your past behaviors and experiences.

Research the Interviewer:
LinkedIn Profile: If possible, research the interviewer’s background on LinkedIn.
Understanding Roles: Know the roles and responsibilities of the people you’ll be interviewing with.

Prepare Your Own Questions:
Ask Questions: Prepare thoughtful questions about the company, team, and role.
Show Interest: Demonstrate your interest in the position and the organization.

Dress Professionally:
Appropriate Attire: Dress in professional attire that aligns with the company culture.
Grooming: Pay attention to personal grooming to make a positive first impression.

Bring Essential Materials:
Copies of Resume: Carry multiple copies of your resume.
References: Have a list of references ready if requested.

Practice, Practice, Practice:
Mock Interviews: Practice with a friend, family member, or career advisor.
Record Yourself: Use technology to record and review your responses.

Mind Your Body Language:
Posture: Sit up straight and exhibit positive body language.

Follow-Up Plan:
Thank-You Email: Plan to send a thank-you email within 24 hours.
Reiterate Interest: Reiterate your interest in the position and express gratitude.

Handle Technical Aspects:
Virtual Interviews: If it’s a virtual interview, ensure your technology works smoothly.
Know the Platform: Familiarize yourself with the interview platform.

Stay Positive and Confident:
Positive Mindset: Approach the interview with a positive mindset.
Confidence: Believe in your abilities and the value you bring to the role.

There are two main types of interview questions: standard/screening questions (ie, “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths”) and behavior based questions (“Tell me about a time you…”). Behavior based interview question are popular because previous behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

To answer behavior based interview questions, prepare stories in the basic skill areas of

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-Solving

Also familiarize yourself with the STAR Technique to answering questions.

Situation: Provide context.  Where? When?
Task: What were you tasked with? Why?
Action: What did you do?
Result: What were the results? Quantify.

  • Situation: I was asked to plan a special event—the annual company picnic—at work.
  • Task: I was responsible for managing all the details, from choosing a site, ordering food and managing RSVPs.
  • Action: I created a master calendar with key dates and several spreadsheets for tracking important information.
  • Result: The picnic went off without a hitch and everyone enjoyed the event. I was even asked to plan next year’s event.

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