It’s a job seeker’s market, but anyone who has ever been in the middle of a job search knows that landing the perfect role is not simple.
If you are fortunate enough to land an interview for a position you’re passionate about, congratulations! The hiring company has acknowledged that you meet their minimum requirements and your resume looks promising.
However, now is not the time to be complacent. While your resume got you the interview, it’s on you to nail it and put distance between yourself and the competition. What got you in the door won’t get you the offer.
An interview is a test to see not only what you know but who you are, how you think, and how you perform under pressure, and the key to acing any test is preparation. Before your next interview, check out our must do’s before every interview.
Put Careful Thought into Your Appearance
While we like to tell ourselves that we don’t judge people based on their appearance, the truth is we do. It’s human instinct. In the days prior, put careful thought into your appearance beyond what you will wear. Consider your hair, accessories, facial hair, makeup, and even fragrance choice.
You only have one shot to make a good first impression. If you are concerned about what to wear, ask the recruiter or scour the company’s online presence to see what employees wear to the office and plan accordingly.
Review Your Past Experience & Align it to the Job Description
While you may have been the top performer at your previous company, the truth is the hiring company doesn’t care. It’s not about what you have done in the past but how you will translate your knowledge and experience into success in this new role. Prior to the interview, take some time to review your resume and the job description simultaneously. Then, carefully align your experience to the work required at the hiring company.
Research the Company
The tiniest bit of research goes a long way. It demonstrates to the interviewer that you have a sincere interest in the company and leads to a more productive and informed conversation during the actual interview.
At a minimum, you should review the company’s website (especially the careers page), their Glassdoor page, and social media. If you really want to stand out, research topics specifically related to your role at the hiring company.
Come Prepared with Questions
An interview is not a one-sided conversation. A great interview is a fluid conversation where both parties are equally engaged. The key to having a great interview is coming prepared with a list of questions based on your research, job description, and previous conversations. Questions not only demonstrate you have done your homework but also allow you to gather valuable knowledge to help you make a more informed decision later on.
Arrive Exactly 10 Minutes Early
There’s a delicate balance when it comes to timing. Arriving late shows a lack of respect for the interviewer’s time, a lack of seriousness about the role, and signals that you are unreliable. Arriving too early is equally bad.
If you can’t help but be irrationally early, take that time instead to prepare in the car, grab some nearby coffee, or scope out the area. Be mindful of the company’s time, and only head in 10 minutes beforenyour interview.
Be Conscious Your Body Language
Feeling anxious? Overly confident? The way you carry yourself says everything, and it’s important to be mindful of how you present yourself. Always make sure to smile, shake hands firmly, sit up straight, keep your feet on the ground, and maintain eye contact as you speak.
Develop Answers to Difficult Questions
Everyone has a past, and we all have failures and weaknesses that we would prefer not to discuss. In an interview, there’s no room to hide. Instead of glossing over past issues or shifting blame, prepare thoughtful responses in advance just in case the question you dread most gets asked. Not only address the issue but offer some insight on how you responded to the adversity and what you’re doing to improve going forward.
Interviews are stressful no matter who you are. Everything you have done up until this point is put on display, and you’re opening yourself to judgement. Despite that, you can and should control the situation with some thoughtful preparation.
The truth is most candidates don’t prepare, meaning any extra effort you make will be easily noticed and appreciated. When in doubt, remember the recruiter is your friend. They want the placement as much as you want the offer. Ask them for help.