The interviewing process can be quite challenging. Most of us have gone through an interview at some point in our lives. Whether it’s for a first time job or for your dream job, it can be quite grueling.
In order to prepare for an interview, you must be mentally ready. A successful interview depends on how much research and effort you put into it. Did you research the company? Are you dressed nice? Are you asking the right questions, and likewise, are you answering appropriately?
To have a successful interview, there are few things you need to do to prepare before, during and after. Research, action, and follow through.
But let’s first recognize something. If you have an interview lined up, be proud of yourself. That means your resume was a hit and they are interested in you.
There’s your first win of the job search process. What comes next is what matters most.
How To Have A Successful Interview
Research the company.
If you landed an interview, make sure you extensive research. Even if you have other interviews lined up, you want to treat each interview like it’s the job you’re going to get.
Research the background of the company and some key facts about them. Look up the people who will be interviewing you. They are most likely on LinkedIn or have a bio on their company website.
This is important because you want to show your interviewer that you know all about them and their company. Ultimately, they will be impressed with your extensive knowledge.
While this is the most commonly known piece of advice, it still remains one of the most effective attributes to having a successful interview. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for McDonalds or for a corporate job.
No matter if the dress code is business professional or just casual, always dress to impress for your interview. Your interview is your first impression, and dressing nice means you are serious.
Be punctual; the earlier the better.
Always be on time. But even better, be early! Showing up early also shows your interviewer that you are very interested and also serious.
It shows them that you will be a punctual person for the job. It’s best to arrive about 15 minutes early, and even earlier if parking or the location is difficult to navigate.
Prepare for how you will answer.
While no one knows exactly what will be asked in an interview, it’s always good to research common question that are asked and prepare for those answers.
I would say the top three questions are usually something to do with providing a scenario and how you reacted and/or found a solution for the scenario in question, providing information on why you left your previous job and what you are looking for in this job you are applying for, and then why they should hire you.
Be sure to be prepared for about 10 different questions that are commonly asked. Write down your answers and review them just before the interview so they are fresh in your mind.
Prepare by gathering questions to ask.
This is often overlooked by most. But, I am here to tell you how crucial this is when your interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us?” Always say yes!
In my most recent interview, I asked questions that stumped the director of my department. He actually said I had really good questions and some he had to think about for a moment.
I was later told how impressed he was with me and that’s what helped me land the job! So trust me when I tell you, ask all the questions!
Here are a few questions that I asked and other I highly suggest you ask as well.
1. What does a typical day or week look like in this role?
2. What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
3. What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
4. Do you expect the main responsibilities for this position to change in the next six months to a year?
5. What are the most important things you’d like to see someone accomplish in the first 90 days on the job?
6. What is the performance review process like here? How often would I be formally reviewed?
7. What are the team’s biggest strengths and challenges?
8. Who will I report to directly and what is their management style like?
9. What is the office culture like?
10. How does the team and management support each other?
Know what to say when the interviewer brings up salary and benefits.
This is always a touchy subject in an interview but it shouldn’t be. Go in confident knowing your worth and knowing how to counter offer. Never just accept the first offer for salary.
Know the market value for the position you are going for. Here is how this conversation should go and how to be confident without coming off as too confident.
Interviewer: Hi, we would like to offer you a base salary of 50k for this position. How does that sound to you?
You: Thank you for that generous offer. Based on current market value for this position, average state and nationwide compensation, and the responsibilities outlined for this position, I would be more comfortable with a salary of 55k to appropriately compensate me for this job. Can you and your team meet this salary request?
Based upon what they say, the negotiating starts. Don’t get down if they say no. Come back with another offer and keep going. If they don’t want to meet your salary requirements and their offer is not a good one, don’t settle. It’s ok to move on.
Lastly, always follow up and follow through after the interviewer.
Of course, once the interview is done, be sure to thank each interviewer individually. Then ask when you can expect to hear from them. This will give you an idea.
If they say in about a week. wait about 24-48 hours after your interview to send them a thank you note and let them know how interested you are in this position. Then when a week comes around, if you haven’t heard from them.
It’s ok to follow up and see where they might stand, and again reiterating your interest. Thank you notes/emails and follow ups make you stand out.
Especially when they are interviewing multiple candidates. It will put your name back in their minds.
If you utilize all of these tips, you will certainly have a successful interview. I did all of this and more and it impressed my interviews. I have shared these tips with friends and colleagues, and all have said how helpful these were in their interviews.
It also gives you a confidence going into the interview, and in a sense, an upper hand. The tips will allow you to be prepared and come off as someone who is serious, very interested in the job, and a professional. Even better, your interviewer will see you as a key attribute to their company after they see how invested you are from the interview.