4 Simple Interview Preparation Tips: The Non-Negotiables for Getting the Job
You’ve sent in the job applications. You’ve applied with gusto, in fact. You are confident of your chances. Finally, you get the call or the email inviting you to set up a time to interview. Or maybe this is your second interview, or even third. What stands between you and getting the job? I’ve listed my top four interview tips below.
1) Deep Dive on the Company
What do you know about your potential client or new employer? While it may seem inane at first to know that the company was founded in 2012 and started in the CEO's parents' basement, this knowledge will color your appreciation of the organization. Not only that, but it will give you the added benefit of an authentic tone of voice. If you care to find out the small details about how the company or client came to be, you will naturally feel connected to their present day purpose. If you don't care about these aspects of the company you are interviewing for, I suggest you check your motives. Do you really want to work at this company, in this industry, in this role? If so, it will likely interest you to read about the growth trajectory of the company, its culture, size and all the details that go along with its current iteration.
2) Bring Your Humanity to Work
We all know the standard interview questions: What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness? Tell us about a time when you made a mistake on the job, and how you rectified or approached the situation. Do you have experience with [insert job description]? It is likely that if you applied for the job, you believe you can do it. That is excellent! All the other applicants feel this way too, unfortunately. To stand out, it's great to have really done your homework. That doesn't just mean reading every single page on the company website. Have you spent a good amount of time reflecting on the job description? What are you bringing to each aspect of this job that makes YOU an excellent candidate? I'm not talking about "good" responses. I'm talking about genuine responses. Remember that the people hiring you are, well, people. As difficult as it can be to remember while applying via these glowing screens, working at a company involves being on a team of other humans. These other humans will have basic human needs including being respected, understood, and heard. If you can find a way to connect and talk with the human on the other side of the interview table, this will undoubtedly set you apart from other candidates. It will help you drop any nervousness to remember—you are two humans having a conversation with other another. Interview as yourself.
3) Ask Honest Questions
Be honest. You don't work at the company yet. Be prepared with your own set of questions. And again, practice authenticity. Rather than googling "what to ask at an interview" why not ask yourself: What do I care to know? What information would help me decide if I would really like to work at this company, and if it is a good match for me at this time? At the end of the day, you report to yourself. If you practice integrity in the job interview, are honest about your interests and questions, you will feel much more in alignment with your long term goals (easier said than done, I know—check out a piece I wrote on reprogramming your sense of self if you have difficulty articulating what you want or need). The person across the table WANTS to hire you. They have a role that needs to be filled; they have work that needs to be done. They are hoping that you can do this work. Stay open, curious, and willing to ask what you would really like to know.
4) Remember: They Want To Hire You
It's not about being cocky. It's about understanding that, if they invited you in, they are interested in getting to know who you are and believe that you may be a great fit for the job. Be confident in knowing that you got an invitation to interview. It will make the interviewer's life easier if you end up being a great candidate. Rather than feeling like you need to prove yourself, try to think of it instead as you are trying to share yourself. Share yourself effectively, and you have a much greater chance of getting that job offer.
Best of luck to you on your job search journey!