Most people spend two hours or less on job interview prep. With your employment at stake, that simply isn’t enough time to properly prepare for everything you might encounter in that interview room. Before you step into that office, you should know plenty of information about the industry, company and position. Even if your interview only lasts an hour, it might take you much longer to gather all the information necessary to be properly prepared.
First, you need to know your application. Especially if you are currently applying to multiple jobs, you need to make sure you know what you said on your application before you go in for the interview. You may have filled in the questions quickly and with ease, but you don’t want to accidently reference something you wrote on an entirely different application. Additionally, you interviewer will likely refer to your application and resume, so you want to know exactly what both say.
The second item on your job interview prep is becoming very familiar with the position. Consult the original job posting and look online for an even more detailed job description. Consider everything said in the posting and really understand what the hiring manager is looking for in a quality employee. Think about what value you can bring to the company in your prospective role. Create a bank of anecdotes that showcase your professional talents and merits. Use the STAR or SAR guidelines to help construct a memorable narrative.
Research, Research and More Research
Once you are extremely familiar with your application, resume and the job description, you should focus on the company as the next step in job interview prep. Use all resources available to you including the Internet, public documents, news articles and even your local library. If you can, talk with current or past employees. Get a good idea of the company’s market position, typical business practices and normal activities. Before you go in for the interview, you should already know what the company’s products and services are.
During job interview prep, it might be useful to start with a general idea of what the enterprise does, but eventually, you want to discover more particular examples. Figure out what you like about the company and why you want to work for the business. Are there any aspects about the organization that impress you? If you get an interview, knowing the intimate details about the company shows how enthusiastic you are about the position. This will make you stand out in comparison to other candidates.
Also, having a wealth of knowledge about the company can help you answer common interview questions like:
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What most excites you about the position?
Plus, the end of the interview is often reserved for the interviewee’s questions. You will be able to ask more informed and poignant questions if you already have a working knowledge of the enterprise.
As the last step in your job interview prep, consider likely questions and compile a list of what you expect to be asked. You can do some research regarding common inquiries for you industry and position. In your compilation, make sure you include standard questions that are often asked in every job interview.
Once you have a good idea of what you will be asked, gather your friends and family and have them do a mock interview with you. Depending on what you expect in your appointment, you can do the mock interview with one person or a panel. If you aren’t sure what you will encounter, do both. Practice crafting well worded and candid responses. Allow your mock interviewers to ask you off the cuff questions, so you can get used to thinking on your feet without getting flustered.
Though you should be prepared to answer certain queries, don’t memorize your answers. Stock responses sound far less genuine than a free flowing reply. They give the impression that you would answer the same way in an interview with a different company. Feel free to think about key points you should include in your replies, but forgo the memorized paragraphs. Like most professional endeavors, job interview prep requires time and effort. Dedicate a quality amount of time to this pre-interview process to ensure you get that job offer.