There’s much to research and prepare for before any interview. Unfortunately, in a candidate’s desire to find a job, they’ll often snatch up any interview offered and try to rush the process through to the goal.
Don’t make this mistake. Such an approach doesn’t just reduce your chances of success, it makes it more likely you won’t be satisfied with the job if you land it.
Here are six things you should know before your interview and why.
1. Know the job you’re applying for
How many people enter an interview with a cursory understanding of the job? Too many. They know the job title, know it vaguely requires communication skills, and that’s it.
Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the job posting is much more impressive. Know the skills and qualifications needed and how your experience matches up. Try to suss out details like whom the position reports to and its placement within the organization.
To become better acquainted, use the job description to tailor your resume.
2. Know your answers to common questions
You won’t know exactly what you’ll be asked, but hiring managers tend to favor a few go-to questions. Think “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” Even if the wording is different, the theme is likely to crop up.
Be proactive and outline potential responses to such common questions, using the job posting to determine what skills and qualifications your answers will focus on. Then practice your delivery until it feels natural.
3. Know the company and the players
Once again, too few people research the company beforehand. Thoroughly researching a would-be employer will make you stand out and helps you appraise whether the company’s values match your own. Some things to find out:
- Leaders and key players
- Products and services
- Mission statement and corporate values
- Main competition
- Financial standing (especially if publicly traded)
- Reviews (customer and former employees)
- Recent news about the company.
You can find this information on the company’s website, social media, industry publications, and professional websites (e.g., LinkedIn and Glassdoor).
4. Know the type of interview
Don’t assume the interview will be you and a hiring manager chatting over coffee. There are many different types of interviews: work interviews, group interviews, panel interviews, etc. Knowing the type of interview, its estimated duration, and its components will allow you to plan your strategy.
Some hiring managers will keep you in the dark about certain aspects. They won’t, for example, tell you if they are using STAR or case-interview questions. But some information is better than none.
5. Know you’re building a relationship
The interview isn’t just about putting you under a microscope. Hiring managers are also trying to determine if you will fit within the company culture. You should be mindful of this fact.
During your research, pay careful attention to the company’s messaging and tone of communication. This will clue you in to whether the company culture is right for you. If it is, consider how to present yourself in alignment with this culture and show you’ll build a beneficial relationship.
Know your potential red flags
Sometimes hiring managers can overstep. They’ll ask an unprofessional question or request something that makes you uncomfortable. For example, they may ask about your birthplace or mention mandatory overtime requirements without offering further details.
Research what interview questions are illegal and know how you’ll response if asked one. Examine your personal boundaries and what you’re willing to give to the job. Considering potential red flags like these will prevent you being caught off guard.
Knowing these six things before your interview is incredibly important. They’ll show the hiring manager you’re a driven and contentious candidate, while helping you to appraise your potential employer. This means the knowledge you gain won’t just help you land the job; it’ll ensure you find one you can be happy at.
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