Congratulations you have been called for an interview! You now have an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience and personality. Maybe you are nervous, maybe you have done this so many times that you are not sure you will get the job or maybe you are confident and ready to shine. No matter your state, this is how you can best prepare for a winning interview.
Before the Interview
Research about the company. It is sad how many people go for an interview knowing close to nothing about the company. You need to know the basics so start with the all-time search engine 'google', look at the company website, recent news and products/services they offer. This will give you insight of what they do and how your role connects to that.
Read the job description, not the job title. Actually, study the job description. When preparing for an interview it is paramount that you familiarize yourself with the job description used to advertise the role. I know the JD does not include everything the role entails but it includes the most essential bits. As you are studying the job description connect what they are requiring to your own experiences, skills and projects you have worked on before. During the interview make sure you share as much as possible with relevancy to the skills highlighted in the job description.
Think about your personal brand. Your image is a very important part to your interview success. Research appropriate dress code of the company and prepare what you will wear on the interview date. You do not want to have any surprises, like the fact that your white shirt is actually dirt, so prepare beforehand.
Prepare questions. In your research of the company and study of the job description. Prepare strategic questions you will ask the interviewer. Your questions should be genuine and out of curiosity of wanting to know more. Remember you are also assessing if the company is good for you. Here are a few areas you can get questions to ask
· The direction of the role
· How the role relates to the whole department or the company.
· Growth opportunities within the role
· Opportunities to learn and upskill in the company
· Strategic direction of the company
· If it is a sales role, asking about clients and sales goals works as well.
Double check the interview details like time, location and interviewers. You must make sure you are clear on when the interview will be as well as the location. You can proceed to check the location on google maps to ensure you are familiar with where you are heading on the D-day. If you are having a virtual interview, ensure you are familiar with the tools used and you have the link to log in beforehand.
During the interview
On the day of the interview, you must bring your A game even if you have done 100 interviews before.
Be confident. They say luck is opportunity meeting preparation, therefore trust on your preparation. Give yourself a pep talk on the mirror before the interview if you need to boost your confidence level.
Relax and have a conversation. An interview is simply a conversation to assess if you are fit for the role and the company so do not let the conversation run dry. Allow your personality and skills to shine. Look the interviewers in the eyes and have a conversation with them. Feel free to ask questions and clarifications if you need. Show your passion, dedication and share about the details of what you have actually done. Use the STAR approach to answer questions
· Situation – share different situations you have faced in your experience
· Task – share what task were you given or you took in a team
· Action – share which actions you took to solve the situation and accomplish your task. This is your chance to show your skills, remember your study of the Job description and highlight skills they need
· Result – Share the results you got after your actions or the change you influenced. This is where you let your achievements shine
Ask questions you have prepared at the end. Many interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions. Bring up a maximum of 2 questions you have prepared and really listen for their answers to understand better.
Close with confidence. At the end thank the interviewers of their time and let them know you enjoyed an opportunity to meet them and know more about the company (be genuine).
After the interview
Following up feedback can be tricky; you must understand that it sometimes take a while for companies to make a decision so be patient. If you have means of reaching out for feedback, do so politely and do not overindulge by calling or emailing daily. Once in two weeks is enough on my opinion.
If they give you negative feedback, take the criticism and improve. Understand that sometimes, not getting a job is not a reflection of your incapability but the fit to a specific company or role.
If you get positive feedback, congratulations. You are moving to offer and negotiation stage. Maybe someday I will share the best way to navigate that.