Successful job interviews do not happen by chance. Significant preparation is required to become qualified and to get hired for the most desirable jobs. Although it can be stressful both before and after the interview, there are important things that you can do to increase your preparation for a job interview and to decrease your stress. These include researching the job and the company, preparing your answers ahead of time for anticipated questions, and being prepared for on-site requests.
Researching the Job and the Company
Before you invest a lot of time in interviews and paperwork, make sure that you understand as much as possible about the job for which you are applying and the company where you want to work. This information will help you to preliminarily decide if the job and the company is worth your time and effort. After a positive determination of your interest, carefully examine the job posting to understand all of the requested proficiencies, background, education, and training for the job. This list many times is not a must-have list but is a wish list of everything that an ideal candidate would have. It is very important to clearly understand these requirements because they will definitely be part of the job interview.
In researching the company, it is important to verify that you fit with the corporate culture and have an inside knowledge that will give you a competitive edge during the interview process. Go first to the company website. Study the different subgroups, divisions, and organizations within the company so that you understand how it is structured. This will help you to understand how your job fits into the company as a whole and how the division or group your job belongs to fits into the larger organization. Study the company’s history, products, customer service, and partners. Thorough research will prepare for your job interview and allow you to be knowledgeable in discussions with the hiring manager regarding the company and its products.
Finding existing or previous workers at the company can help you network efficiently. Ask among your friends, family, and neighbors if any of them have or do work for the company of interest. If they do, make sure to connect with them and learn as much as possible about the job. If you cannot find direct connections to the job, peruse LinkedIn for former or current employees of the company. Reach out to these employees with relevant questions and your interest, but make sure to not be too pushy and appear as if you are stalking any candidates. Networking can significantly help you obtain a job because it gives you and the company with a reliable reference.
Preparing Your Answers
Some of the most important preparation for a job interview comes by carefully planning out your answers to commonly asked questions. This does not mean that you are going to script out answers that will sound over-rehearsed and fake. Search online for sets of commonly asked job interview questions, especially difficult questions. Create bullet points of major subjects that you would include in your answer. Your answers to interview questions should always provide them will specific examples and experiences that prove that you are the most qualified candidate. For example, if the hiring manager asks, “What is your customer service experience?” do not only reply, “I have a lot of experience.” Instead, make sure to be specific about the length and depth of your experience and give an experience or a story that shows your experience. A hiring manager is much more likely to remember your answer with a good story. In addition to researching general questions, study the job requirements and calculate what you think the hiring manager will ask you. Prepare for the job interview by also outlining your answers to these questions. This preparation will help you to feel more confident, and will help you avoid uncomfortable silences and poorly prepared responses during an interview.
Be Prepared for On-Site Requests
While you are at a job interview, there are specific things that a hiring manager or human resources representative might ask of you. Make sure that you bring an updated copy of your resume so that you can accurately complete paperwork so that it matches your job application information. Additionally, almost any job interview ends with the hiring manager asking if you have any questions. Prepare for your job interview in advance by mapping out questions that show that you are highly interested in the job.