Let me begin by saying that I am no expert in business, but I’ve learned a few things over the years from courses, articles, experience and friends in business. I have decided to share with you today some of the things that I do to prepare for a job interview and and help decrease my pre-interview stress levels! Also, I’ve been really busy the last week so I did not edit a photo for this post… sorry!
Learn as much as you can about the company!
If the company that you are interviewing for has a website, browse it! What is their motto or philosophy? How long have they been in existence? What services do they offer? What are their shares worth? Find a few things that you’re interested in learning about them and read about it on their website. This is important for a few reasons. The first being that they will definitely be asking you questions and some of them will require you to know things about them in order to answer properly. Secondly, the more you know about the company, the more you’ll be able to demonstrate how much you deserve the position. Someone who has taken the time to learn about a company is more deserving of a position than someone who has not learned anything about the company. It shows that you’re actually interested in them. Lastly, knowing all there is to know about a company will put your mind at ease during the interview because there is a smaller chance that you’ll say something silly or not know the answer to a question!
Know the job description!
This seems like an obvious one, I know, but there’s more to a job description than “oh, a receptionist, so i’ll be filing and answering phones”. The more you know about what is required of you, the better you’ll be at providing them information and examples that demonstrate your capability of completing all your required tasks. Questions will always be asked to figure out how you would fit into their environment and sometimes, scenarios too. If you already know every detail of the job description, you’ll already know which skills you have that will be best suited for their work environment and you’ll spend less time thinking about your answers and more time giving them real life examples of situations you’ve dealt with that are similar. If possible, always give a real life example of something similar rather than making up how you would deal with a situation if it ever occurred. I find that when I try to make things up on the spot I get too stressed and say crazy things that I wouldn’t actually do in real life. What is the main point of their scenario? For example, if, at the end of the day, they are simply asking you “what would you do if a customer yelled at you?,” pull up an example of a time a customer yelled at you, even if it was 5 years ago, and explain to them how you dealt with the situation.
Always ask questions!
I feel that it’s very important to ask questions at the end of an interview when they ask “do you have any questions for me?,” because it shows how interested you are in them. But, coming up with questions on the spot can be stressful and you may ask weird things like “am I allowed plants on my desk?” or “how many microwaves are in the lunch room?”. If you take time to create a list of potential questions before your interview, you’ll have a bank to fall back on. Just make sure you actually listen to everything they say so that you’re not asking them to tell you something they have already told you. If, at the end of an interview, I find for whatever reason that I have no questions to ask, I will ask them to elaborate on a further point. So, if they mentioned that the office becomes really quiet when they are doing statistics, I might ask what program they use, or something related to what they mentioned about statistics. This shows that I was listening to their long, wrap-up speech and that I am interested in hearing more.
The most important thing I do is be myself! I feel that interviewers have met with a lot of people in their days and probably know when someone is faking. This is also the hardest part of an interview because I’m always wondering “what if they think I’m boring” or “what if I’m too awkward”. But, these thoughts will also haunt you if you try to mold yourself into the type of person that you think they are looking for. So it’s really just easier to be you. And, who knows, some employers might make their final decision based on the fact that you were very easy to talk to, or that you cracked a joke (if you do use jokes, do limit them!).
BASICALLY, know things about the company and the position, engage in conversation with the interviewer, ask questions and be yourself. There is no magic formula that will guarantee the interviewer to higher you but these steps have always left me feeling confident after an interview (and, I don’t think I’ve ever not been hired after an interview – the hardest step is actually getting the interview).