July 24, 2019| 3 min read
Getting an interview shows an employer’s interest in you, but most likely you will be one of several people that have made it this far and, regardless of your qualifications, will need to find ways to stand out from the crowd.
Here’s a few tips to ensure you come adequately prepared and advantageously positioned.
Do Your Research
Make sure you know as much about the company you are applying to and the position you’ll be filling as possible. The latter may be challenging, but the former is as easy as a website review and newswire search.
To the best of your ability, see if you can identify the challenges they face, the accomplishments they’ve had and any specific culture or brand differentiators that align with your own experiences or passions. Showing an interest in the business they are in, as well as an ability to understand their positioning on specific matters will put you far ahead of someone that appears to be waiting for training to understand anything about the company.
Asking informed questions, when appropriate, not only shows your willingness to learn and go the extra mile, it also shifts the focus of the interview on them, which can provide all kinds of sociological advantages.
Know the Basics
No matter how many interviews you do, the same interview questions in one form or another will always pop up. Having a good answer to them will help position you as informed and confident, and with some practice, should give even the most introverted interviewee the chance to hit a few questions out of the park.
These questions typically include the following:
Why do you want to work here?
What makes you a good fit for this position?
What are some previous challenged you’ve overcome?
What do you like/dislike about a shared work environment?
What’s something you would change about your previous place of employment and why?
What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?
What motivates you? What are you unable to perform around?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Knowing why an employer would ask these questions, and then figuring out ways to answer them that would position you as an ideal fit for their needs, is an excellent first step to preparing for that interview.
It also helps to have a few questions for the interviewer as well. Typically, they will ask you if you have any at the end of the interview and it’s a good time to show that you are someone that knows what you want. Ask about culture, ask about overtime and certainly ask about anything that was a deal breaker for you in previous workplaces. This is not a time to complain or appear difficult, but it is an excellent time to gain clarity surrounding anything you value.
Dress to Impress
While business attire is always recommended, not every job requires a three-piece suit. Dress appropriate for the job you will be doing, and whenever in doubt, err on the side of too formal.
Today’s professional looks a lot different than they did 50 or even 30 years ago, but polish, cleanliness and respect never go out of style. Make sure you dress in a way that shows respect for the interview, and never forget the value of a good first impression.
If you have examples of your work, bring them.
While some may have a portfolio of past work, others may simply bring letters of reference, a memory stick of documentation, case study examples or physical products. Anything you can leave behind for their review will help provide the peace of mind they’ll need to give you a chance.
Get a card or contact information from whomever gives you the interview and follow up immediately afterwards.
An email that thanks them for their time and touches on something memorable from the interview is a great way to show respect and due diligence after an interview. It’s also a great time to provide them with anything they may have requested in the interview and can sometimes be the difference that puts you ahead of an otherwise equally attractive alternative.