Preparing for an interview is kind of like riding a bike. You never really forget how to do it, but your first time back can be a bit shaky.
Even for the most seasoned professional, the interview can be a nerve racking experience; especially considering the process to interview is increasingly becoming digital. Those candidates who know how to best prepare will not only reduce pre-interview jitters, but arm you with the confidence to outshine your competition.
AN Expert Guide On How to Prepare for an Interview
To help get you started down the right path, we turned to our army of expert recruiters to understand what they do to prepare their candidates for the interview process. Here is what they had to say.
3 Areas You Must Research
In the pre-internet era, conducting research on a company used to be a bit daunting, but with the advent of the World Wide Web, there’s zero excuse to show up uninformed or unaware of the company history and latest news. That’s why our recruiters recommend performing a number of searches to get the full scope of the latest and greatest happenings at the company.
This is an obvious go-to, first step, but many candidates stop at the About page. They get caught up in the history of the company, its leadership and receive a cursory understanding of what makes the company stand apart from its competitors.
Basic Google Search
Performing a Google search is a great way to reveal any recently released publications by the company or news mentions of the company. Additionally, it’s a good idea to research what is currently happening with the prospective company’s industry to demonstrate your thought-leadership as it relates to the position.
Make it a habit to follow the social media pages of companies that you are applying to. By doing so, you can gain unique insights into what is currently happening within the company. This can not only score you extra points in the interview, but is a great way to get a feel for the company culture.
Know Your Role
Unless you know the level or title of the person you are interviewing with, it can be difficult to gauge where you fall within the company’s interest level. While the goal of the first interview is for both parties to get to know one another, it doesn’t mean that difficult questions like salary and performance reviews won’t come up. For this reason, we recommend that you come prepared to answer and ask the tough questions.
- Who’s been successful in this role and why?
- Who’s failed and why?
- Who does this position report to?
- Are there supervision responsibilities or responsibilities not listed in the job description?
- What are your expectations in the first six months? In one year?
Candidates can spend hours, sometimes days, researching the company but often never think to perform a search on themselves. It is mission critical to know what your digital footprint looks like, and course correct any mistakes and or embarrassing moments before it’s in the hands of your interviewer.
Consider that any photo has the opportunity to come up in a search. Our recruiters highly recommend regularly Googling yourself, but doing so more frequently as you are job hunting. Chances are if a recruiter or hiring manager finds an unprofessional post or photo of you, you won’t even make it to the interview.
You don’t have to possess a criminal record to warrant running a background check, the fact is, not all background checks are accurate. This is especially important if you are applying for government jobs or positions that require security clearances.
Avoid cringe-worthy moments where the person interviewing you confirms that the best email to contact you is hugsandkisses4U@someserver.net. Even if you are an entry level candidate, this never comes across as being professional. Do yourself a favor and set up an email account that matches your name or profession as closely as possible.
Remember, the goal of an interview is to competitively represent yourself to the potential employer and successfully position yourself to move forward in the selection process. Embarking down the path of adequately preparing for your interview ultimately sets you up for success. Be sure to arm yourself with the necessary tools to win over the hiring managers and get your dream job in 2016!
About the Author: This blog was written by Katie Duffy. Katie is a staffing and recruiting professional with more than 15 years of experience in corporate staffing and consulting services. She currently serves as an RPO Director for Yoh and leads a full RPO engagement for a global agribusiness company. Katie’s expertise spans operations management; large account development and management; developing and implementing talent strategies; start-up experience; recruiting and resource management; and management of professional recruiting staff.