Spoiler alert: preparation is key!
Interviews can stir up a whole pot of emotions, from nervousness to uncertainty and doubt. However, with these simple job interview tips, you can ace your next interview. Keep reading to find out more.
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Do your Research
Spend time visiting the company’s website and social media accounts to really understand what the company is all about. Before the interview, learn as much as you can about the company, including its mission, goals and organisational structure.
It’s obvious to read the “about” section on a company’s webpage, but another great way to learn more about the organisation’s personality and culture is through company blogs and social media accounts. LinkedIn is a key tool here! Use it to review the profiles of your interviewers and to better understand their backgrounds. Do you recognise a connection who previously worked for the company or currently does? Reach out and speak to them for insights on the company’s culture or specifics about the role. Follow the company on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn about important news and milestones, and to better understand its voice.
Finally, do a search on Google! Read the “news” section from the last year and look out for the company’s big moves and events. Also make sure to check for any negative reviews and articles. The more knowledge and background information you have, the more confident you will feel about your fit within the culture of the company. Don’t be afraid to put on your internet sleuth hat and dig away!
Know your CV
Review your CV before you interview and brush up on your key strengths and achievements. Whether it’s been weeks, months or years since you last went through this process, this is critical to do every time! Rehearse how you will walk the hiring manager through your experience, without looking at your CV, and make sure you can illustrate every point with a war story or data point (for instance, “I analysed the business to find ways to expand market share and increased revenue by 25% in the first two quarters of the year”). Use succinct examples to highlight your accomplishments and make sure they are tailored to the role you are interviewing for. Do not recite your entire CV aloud. Interviewers will likely glance over it before the interview or have it in front of them, so focus on your key takeaways. It is never necessary to talk about every job you have had in your career.
Have Your Talking Points Ready!
Getting an interview is the most important step in your journey to a new job or career. At the most basic level, you should be ready to discuss anything and everything listed on your CV – it’s all fair game. But more importantly, you should go into an interview ready to sell yourself and have your talking points prepared.
Read the job description carefully ahead of time and think about the types of qualities that are key to success in the role. Consider the types of questions the interviewer may ask to assess those skills and how to highlight your best traits. Have concrete examples ready to illustrate your skill set and be ready to talk about how your past experiences translate into the new role. If the interviewer is going to remember three things about you to share with their colleagues at the next personnel meeting, what three things do you want them to remember? Speak to those things and drive them home while you have their attention.
Make A Connection
While it’s of course important to be technically qualified, it’s worth remembering that hiring managers are also looking for someone who is the right fit. They need to like you and be able to visualise working constructively with you.
First and foremost, research the person you are meeting with on LinkedIn to understand their role and responsibilities within the organisation. Do you have a common connection? Reach out and ask them for their experience with the interviewer. When in the interview, you may choose to share that you have a common connection with the interviewer to help develop a rapport and show that you did your homework.
Overall you want the meeting to feel like an easy conversation – as if you were already working together. That means really listening to what the interviewer has to say. They’ll reveal hints of where they, their team and the company need help. Listen for cues and don’t interrupt.
Almost every interview ends with the opportunity for you to ask questions. Even if not prompted, the interview is your chance to inform yourself about the organisation, the types of tasks you will be doing and the overall team dynamic. Most importantly, it’s your chance to further confirm that you want to be a part of the team and its mission. Some questions to think about include:
- What are the risk factors you see in the company’s plan?
- How is the company going to mitigate these risks?
- What are the initiatives you’d be working on?
- Who are the key internal and external stakeholders, and how are they disposed to support the initiative or project?
- What is the working style of the leader and the team you’d be a part of?
Don’t be afraid to follow up post interview if there are any lingering questions that you would still like answered. Giving serious thought to the role shows your enthusiasm and conviction!