Job interviews are one of those necessary evils of the real world. In order to get ahead or land your dream job, you most likely have to go through some sort of interview process. And while every interview is different, there are a few steps you can take to put your best foot forward and be fully prepared for the experience.
Research, research, research
Familiarize yourself with the company, and the department if possible, as much as you can. There are a lot of different resources you can use for this. Google is a good place to start, as is their website. But also check out their LinkedIn page and their blog if they have one. Depending on the industry, social media can be another great place to learn more about he company. Glassdoor and other review sites can give you some insight into the company culture, which is a big help. In the end, you want to have a clear understanding of how the company operates, what their mission and short- and long-term goals are and what your responsibilities would entail.
Review the job description
Speaking of potential responsibilities, make sure you know what the job posting is asking for. If you don’t exactly fit the desired qualifications, you want to be able to explain why you are the best fit regardless. Know what the company is looking for and review the posting to see if it can answer any questions you might have. The last thing you want is to ask a question that’s answered right in the job description!
Reach out to your network
Networks are an often under-utilized tool when it comes to the job search. You may not realize that your best friend’s cousin works at the company for which you’re interviewing, or that your college roommate has interviewed at that company in the past. Consider your contacts, be it through LinkedIn, your college alumni network or some other way, and try to find someone you can reach out to. Having an inside look can be a huge advantage!
While asking questions in an interview can help you learn more about the position, they also give your interviewer a lot of insight. If your questions show a strong foundation of knowledge about the company, it reinforces that you are truly interested in the position and not just looking for any old job. Take the time to review your research (as discussed above) and compile thoughtful questions or topics you’d like to discuss in the interview.
Scout out the location
Maybe it’s just me, but I always have the worst luck finding a company on the day of my interview. I always hit traffic, have trouble finding the building or some other mishap. If you’re unfamiliar with the location, take the time a few days before to see what the trip is like, ideally at the same time you’ll be interviewing so you have an idea of what the traffic or public transportation schedule will be like. This will take some of the pressure off of you on interview day since you’ll already have a solid idea of where you’re going.
Confidence is a large contributor to your interview success, so take the time to be fully prepared and it’ll make the process go much, much smoother for you!