How to prepare for an interview
After you get that call asking you to come in for an interview, you will be ecstatic. You may even stay exited for a while after you hang up the phone, but then you’ll be hit by a revelation: that you have to go to the interview, and you have no idea what to expect or how to prepare for it. But, don’t be dismayed, because that is exactly what we are here to help you with.
Don’t be one of those people who think that they will just wing it, or that they will be fine without actually preparing for the interview. After all, how hard can it be, right? Wrong! Chances are that if you are not prepared for the interview, the interview can go dreadfully, and you might actually see your chance of getting the job leaving the room. A small percentage of people might actually be fine without preparing for the interview, but why take that risk, when you can prepare and be GREAT instead!
An interview is nothing more than an elaborate sales pitch, where you are both the product and the seller, while the interviewer is the customer. Now, you can’t effectively sell the product if one, you don’t know the product, and second, if you don’t know your customer’s needs. If a customer wants a vacuum cleaner, there is no point trying to sell him a mop. Hence, you must first get to know your audience.
In order to do this, you must first do your research. Find out as much as you can about the company you are interviewing for. Find out who the company is, which industry it belongs to, and what position it holds in the industry. Find out the type of company it is, as well as what their company culture is like, or their business ethics, for that matter. Getting a feel for the company will ensure that one it is the right fit for you, and secondly, the company will no longer seem intimidating, as you’ll feel like you already know all there is to know about the company. Also, once you know the company you’ll find it easier to pitch yourself as the ideal employee.
Of course, it is not possible to find out everything, or maybe the company is a startup or a small firm with minimal media exposure. In which case, you can still find out a lot from the company’s social media accounts, as well as the accounts of its leaders and management heads. In today’s day and age, nearly each and every one has a presence on social media, and you’ll be surprised how much you can actually learn about the company and the people who run it.
During your research, remember to jot down any questions you may have. You can clarify these questions with the interviewer during the interview, especially when they ask ‘so, do you have any questions?’
Once you are comfortable with how much you know about the company and the significant strides (or lack of) they are making in the industry. It is time to move along to the product, i.e. you. You may think you know there is everything to know about you, but knowing it and presenting it are two completely different things. You need to be comfortable selling yourself, but yet staying away from bragging. They may seem like the same thing, but there is a distinct line between the two, one that can only be mastered by practice. So, you should in fact practice it.
Prepare obvious questions, such as ‘tell me about yourself’, ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’, ‘what are you goals’, ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’, ‘why should we hire you’, etc. These types of question might seem simple now, but these are the questions that trip us up in front of the interviewer the most. Hence, it is better off to prepare them, after all what’s the harm. You can also ask someone you know to practice an interview scenario with you. This will help you get comfortable with answering these questions.
Don’t forget about the small stuff. Plan what you are going to wear in advance, make and carry extra copies of your resume, call back a day before the interview to confirm the time and place of the interview. Keep you list of references and your portfolio ready if applicable. This will ensure that there are no last minute mishaps, and that you don’t forget anything. If you think you might be running late on the day of the interview, or are stuck in traffic or can’t find the place, make sure to call in advance to inform them and apologize. It is better to arrive late, then to arrive late and flustered.
Also, pay attention to your posture, and body language when at the interview. Your posture should be erect and your body language must be calm and confident. Make sure your handshake is firm and that you make eye contact with the interviewer. Be aware of your surrounding and remember to breathe. Don’t get nervous and flustered, or at least don’t let it show. If you have prepared for the interview beforehand, then there is no need to be nervous, you’ll do fine. Do, Good Luck, though who needs luck, when you have preparation on your side.