KUDOS FOR GETTING THE JOB INTERVIEW. ARE YOU READY?
Updated: Oct 20
The interview is more than a formality. Your application sparked the employer's interest and now is your chance to explain why you are the best candidate. They need to determine if there is a 'fit' between you and the company. Here are some basic pointers to help prepare for your meeting:
Research the Employer – One of the first questions you may be asked is, "Why do you want to work for us?" or "Why are you interested in our company?" You may be tempted to say, "I need a job," but, of course, that won't work. Consider what differentiates them from others. What is their mission? What are their services and products? Try to reach out to people who work there to learn what makes the company unique.
Assess Your Skills – Review your strengths and accomplishments. It will be helpful to create a list of at least 10 achievements and memorize these before the interview. This will allow you to highlight numerous strengths instead of repeating the same ones throughout the interview. Also, whenever you mention a skill, use an example to describe how you used it.
Practice – This is no time to wing it. You don't want to memorize responses, but you don't want to go in unprepared. Answer questions out loud rather than merely reciting them in your head. There is no such thing as too much practice. Record yourself, have someone ask you questions, or sign up for a professional mock interview.
Handling Interview Questions – Typical questions will address your experience, goals, strengths, and areas of weakness. Emphasize ways in which your background aligns with their needs. Consider the meeting as a conversation, and don't try to guess what they want to hear. There are generally no wrong or right answers. Silence is also okay. If you need time to consider your response, take a couple of seconds to reflect. The last thing you want is to say something you cannot take back.
Prepare for Behavioral Questions – These show them how you performed in the past and demonstrate how you will respond on the job. For example, "Tell me about a time when…" Employ the S.T.A.R. approach: describe the Situation, Task, Action, and Result of the scenario you are describing.
Virtual Interviews – Now "it's also important to hone your video interview skills," as I stated in an Oct 17, 2020, LA Times article, "What to do after the layoff." Ensure the background seen by the interviewer is uncluttered. Look into the camera when you are answering to maintain eye contact.
Ask Questions – When the interviewer asks if you have questions, never say, "no." Base inquiries on natural curiosity about the employer and the role.
The bottom line is to emphasize how you can meet the employer's needs. Be positive and show interest.Think of the meeting as a conversation. Remember, you will be interviewing them to determine if the culture and company are right for you.