How to Prepare for a Job Interview
When a job seeker is extended an invitation by an employer to interview for a position, it’s a privilege and should be treated as such. Proper and thorough preparation for a job interview is crucial for moving on to the next step in the interview and/or hiring process. Just as an actor ‘prepares’ and ‘rehearses’ for an audition, applicants should follow the same process for a job interview in an effort to beat out the competition. Recruiters interview many candidates on a daily basis and they are able to quickly detect when an applicant is unprepared. Follow these interview tips from Jones Networking to ensure you impress at your next interview:
1. Research the company. Some of the questions a potential employer will ask during the interview may pertain to the candidate’s knowledge (or lack thereof) of the company. Understand the mission of the establishment, as well as the steps which they have taken recently to achieve their mission. Take the time to research the company’s website, conduct a thorough Google search, and review LinkedIn profiles of the interviewer, management, and current employees with similar titles to the position for which you are applying. If reading employee reviews on Glassdoor or other similar sites, keep an open mind, and be sure to read them with a certain degree of skepticism.
2. Understand the position. Thoroughly review the position description and its requirements. Think of ways to relate your unique work experience to their specific qualifications. Rehearse stories that detail your professional accomplishments in these areas. Describe how you can excel in the role if given the opportunity.
3. Conduct a mock interview. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Research commonly asked interview questions and place yourself in the spotlight. Have concise answers prepared for the common questions that are asked at job interviews. For example:
- Tell me about yourself. (Always answer in professional terms, not personal)
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- Why are you the best candidate for this position? (List your strengths!)
- Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of in your last position. (Have at least one accomplishment rehearsed)
- Carefully consider your answers and prepare brief but comprehensive responses for each one. Take note of the questions that cause you to stumble, so you can dedicate extra time to solidifying your answers. Go as far as to ‘record yourself’ to identify interview faux pas you may have adopted such as gesturing too much, slouching, speaking too quickly, etc.
4. Have questions prepared to ask. Prepare a list of well thought-out questions that display your enthusiasm for the position and/or company. Ask at least two questions at the end of the interview, but be sure they are not self-serving questions. Candidates are judged by the quality of their questions, or lack thereof. We recommend not bringing up any of the following subjects during a first interview: salary, benefits, parking, work hours, or promotion related questions unless they ask you about these subjects. At this stage, your questions should focus on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
5. Ensure you have the necessary documents. Never rely on the employer to provide the files necessary to complete your interview. Prepare yourself prior to your interview date by ensuring you have the following documents updated and printed out:
- Several copies of your current resume
- Professional References (3-5 supervisory references preferred)
- Employment Application (If provided to you in advance)
- Cover letter (optional)
- Portfolio (if relevant to the employment opportunity)
6. Expect the unexpected. There is no telling what hindrance may come your way, be it a wardrobe malfunction, an unexpected traffic jam, or a confused navigation system. To ensure unexpected obstacles do not ruin your big day, take precautions the night before by laying out your most professional suit, planning out a desired and back-up route, and leaving your house with more than enough time to make your way to the interview. It’s always helpful to make a trial run to the interview location prior to the interview date to scope out parking, or to just make sure you know exactly where the office is located.
7. Arrive early. Leave time to unwind.
Plan on arriving to your destination thirty minutes prior to the interview time. This will provide time to review your notes and to ensure you are relaxed; instead of rushing in the door in a nervous frenzy. Walk into their lobby at least 10 minutes prior to the interview time, but no more than 15 minutes early. Greet the receptionist with a smile, introduce yourself, ask for the interviewer, and take a seat. Do not take out your phone. Take a deep breathe and observe your surroundings until the interviewer arrives.
If you’re ready to take the next step towards an exciting new career, visit www.jonesnet.com to view all of our current openings in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Charlotte, NC.