Successful Job Interview Preparation
The biggest mistake you can make during the interview process is failing to fully prepare. There is not a best or worst way to begin your job interview preparation, but draw upon your past interview experiences. If this is your first time entering the job market, don’t worry. Understanding the interview is simple. First, you need to update your resume and do a self-assessment. What are your current strengths and abilities? What should you work on as a professional? What important accomplishments have you achieved recently? It is important to ask yourself these questions so you can understand what makes you a great candidate.
Read and reread the job posting. Most of the time, employers will list the necessary qualifications. However, many also take the time to state what qualities they are looking for in a good candidate. For instance, does the company need people who work best in teams or alone? Does the enterprise need creative individuals or people who function in a more rigid way? When an interviewer asks you questions, he or she is trying to see if you match up with the ideal candidate. You will answer much more effectively if you gear your responses towards what the hiring manager is looking for.
Next, research the prospective employer. Find out any relevant information about company policies and market position. You don’t want to step into the interview room for a non-profit organization and immediately start talking about more commercial business practices. If you can, use your alumni network to make contacts within the company. You can use these higher-level professionals as mentors and ask them for greater insight into the job interview preparation process.
The Specifics of Job Interview Preparation
Each industry and position is different. Within one enterprise, you could encounter two individuals who manage unrelated sets of responsibilities, yet they both actively contribute to the company’s functionality.. A major element of job interview preparation is understanding what the hiring manager is expecting from you. For example, many companies have a Human Resources Department. As such, you can expect the same general questions in interviews for HR positions. However, in the construction businesses you might deal with worker’s compensation while in an insurance agency, you might deal more with employee mediations or health coverage.
Consider these factors:
- What is the overall industry?
- How does the company function in the industry?
- What department will you be working in?
- How large is the enterprise?
Once you get a feel for the specifics of your field, you can better predict what type of questions you will encounter. Consequently, you will have a chance to think about good responses beforehand so you don’t get caught off guard in the interview room. This can be the key to a successful interview versus a mediocre experience.
Final Steps in Job Interview Preparation
Now that you are familiar with the culture of the industry and position, you are ready to choose a professional outfit as the next step in job interview preparation. Some businesses allow jeans as part of the uniform, but others may be on the opposite side of the spectrum with a business formal dress code. Whatever the case may be, you should probably aim to overdress a bit just to be safe. Don’t be excessive with your jewelry or accessories, because though you want to dress well, you shouldn’t be overly flashy. Try on your attire before the interview to make sure everything fits appropriately.
Confirm the location of your interview well before it takes place. If you have the time, drive by the area and get a good gauge of how long it takes to get there with and without traffic. You can’t always help if there is an accident on the road, but if you aimed to be at the office 30 minutes early, you could save yourself the embarrassment of showing up late to your interview.
At the end of the interview, collect business cards from the entire panel and ask about the next step in the hiring process. For instance, how and when will you be notified? Within one to two days of your interview, send a thank-you note to every individual who took part in interviewing you. If you prefer, feel free to email the hiring managers as long as you maintain a professional tone.