Before the interview, focus on the purpose, do research, prepare for possible questions and plan the appropriate attire to wear.
Know the Purpose of the Interview
Before you can prepare for or go to an interview, you should have a clear sense of what the purpose of an interview is.
Interviewers have one main goal: to hire someone for the job! But in finding that person, they are looking for some key things. They want to gauge your interest in the position, check if your skills fit the role, evaluate your professionalism, and get to know your personality. As for you, your goal is to get the job! Faye de Muyshondt, founder of socialsklz:-) for SUCCESS, says that you should go into an interview with the knowledge and skills necessary to make a good impression.
There are several types of interviews: traditional, informational, phone, Skype, group, and more. The traditional interview will be the interviewer (perhaps more than one) and you talking together. Today, many companies will conduct phone or Skype interviews. Some companies have several rounds of interviews, starting with a phone interview and ending with an in-person interview. Other companies will do more unique things like interviewing groups or providing you with a problem to solve as part of the process. An informational interview is a bit different than a traditional interview, as it is geared at learning more about different jobs and fields, without necessarily interviewing to fill a specific position. Informational interviews are a great way to practice interviewing and are a good networking opportunity for the future. Know what type of interview you are having beforehand so you can prepare accordingly.
Research the Company
Preparation is key. Do your research ahead of time. You should always look up the company and understand their basic mission, goals, and the work they do before an interview. Chances are the interviewer will ask you a question about the company and your thoughts about the work they do. However, career coach Jane Horowitz says to avoid simply rehashing exactly what’s on the company website. Employers want to know that you’ve done your research, but they also want to know your unique take on who they are and what they do.
Prepare for Possible Questions
Again, preparation is essential. “Don’t ever go to an interview without practicing,” de Muyshondt says. Think about the types of questions you might be asked at the interview. The key here is knowing yourself and how you might fit into the job you are applying for. Think about your specific skills ahead of time and how they relate to the position. Be aware of your weaknesses, and think of examples that highlight how you have overcome them. Think about specific experiences you have that relate to the job description. And make sure to have a brief overview of yourself ready. One comment you are almost guaranteed to get is, “Tell me about yourself.” This does not mean you should tell your life story, but rather a concise summary of who you are, your career experiences, your abilities, and your goals. This is an opportunity to really show who you are and what you can do. “Often times, young people are uncomfortable showcasing themselves,” de Muyshondt says. “But that’s what an interview is! You have to be authentic during an interview.” Here are some other common questions:
Why are you interested in this job?
Why should we hire you?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What skills do you have that you could bring to our team?
Have you ever had to work with a team to achieve a goal?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
How would you handle X conflict?
What should we know about you that is not on your resume?
When are you available to start?
Wear Appropriate Attire
Plan your outfit ahead of time; it may depend a lot on the job you are applying for. No matter what, you should always look clean and put-together. Business casual is generally a good rule to follow. This generally means no jeans, t-shirts, sandals, excessive jewelry, or tennis shoes. And no perfume or cologne. When in doubt, err on the side of dressing up, rather than down.
Bring Copies of Your Resume
Bring multiple copies of your resume to the interview. This way, you will have a copy to look at for reference and you can give copies to the interviewers (there may be more than one). This is a simple way to show that you are prepared and ready for the interview, and by extension, the job.
Make sure you know where you are going and how to get there ahead of time. Give yourself extra time to get there, as you never know when you will run into traffic or transportation delays. Depending on the building, you may have to go through security or navigate to a certain floor or office for the interview, so make sure to account for this. And make sure to turn off your cell phone before entering the interview location. Giving yourself extra time will ensure that you get there early and also have a chance to relax before the interview starts.