Of course, you need to look professional and arrive a few minutes early. But the real prep starts days before you go to the job interview.
The best way to prepare is to do your due diligence.
Here are 5 things you can do to shine at a job interview.
1. Map out how your experience fits the job responsibilities. Make a list of your past projects and deliverables, and determine which of them match up with the requirements of the job for which you are interviewing. Reflect on what you did well that made these projects successful. The more you can tie experiences that demonstrate your expertise to the open position, the better your chance of receiving an offer. However, if you have limited experience related to the position, remember that a positive attitude and willingness to learn can sometimes help you compensate. Keep in mind that if you were asked in for an interview, the company saw potential.
2. Research the company. Learn what you can by thoroughly checking out their website and reading articles about the company. Find out where they are headquartered and if they have other locations, partnering companies or subsidiaries. Familiarize yourself with their product or service. Who are their competitors? Whenever possible, talk to people you trust who can provide you with reliable information. If possible, speak with people from different departments to gain a multidimensional perspective.
3. Do recon on the interviewer. Find out with whom you will be meeting, Google them, and educate yourself. Learn what you can about their work history, where they went to school, their field(s) of study, and their degree(s). Use LinkedIn to discover their connections, groups, and organizations to see if you can find a common thread and build credibility. The quicker you can establish a rapport with your audience, the more likely you will be to make a favorable impression and receive an offer.
4. Prepare questions for the interview. While doing your research, start prepare a list of questions to ask during the interview. Make the questions specific enough to demonstrate that you have done your homework. Your interest will play a significant role in the final assessment for hiring consideration.
5. Practice interviewing. Decide beforehand how you will answer a common question like, “Tell me about yourself?” The question is broad but your answer will provide the interviewer with a sense of your personality and communication style. Use this as your opportunity to set the tone of the interview. Keep your answer concise (3-4 sentences) and stay focused on your professional background and interests which are related to the position. Check out our website, http://bit.ly/first-impress for further guidance on answering this question.
When you interview for a job, you present a snapshot of who you are and what you can offer the company. A little homework beforehand will help you make a strong first impression … and can be the difference between “your hired” and “don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
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Uli Stewart is the recruiting manager at Vantage Point Recruiting.