Congratulations! Your resume has topped a pile of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of resumes, and you’ve landed a job interview. The interview process can often feel nerve-wracking or stressful, but preparing ahead of time can go a long way. Thoroughly preparing for your interview will give you the confidence to convey that you’re an ideal fit for the job.
There are no second chances at a first impression, so now that you’ve landed the interview, you’ll want to give it your all. So, what does being prepared for an interview mean? Well, it can be more complex than Googling a list of top interview questions or taking a glimpse at the company’s homepage. To help you prepare, here are some helpful tips.
My Top 5 Interview Preparation Tips:
1. Do your homework
Before the interview, spend some time researching the company. Most interviewers expect the candidate to have at least a base knowledge of the company, so if you haven’t browsed the website and Linkedin page, that could come off as a red flag. Take a look at their mission, values, clients, and work to understand what differentiates them from their competitors. To get a full picture of the brand, check out their presence across social media platforms. You might also get a better sense of the company’s culture on Glassdoor. The more of a full picture you have of the company, the better you’ll be able to tailor your interview answers in a way that will be relevant to the position you want.
Part of your interview prep also includes digging into the job description…line by line. Think about how your experience and skills give you the ability to excel in this new role and stand out. Try to come up with at least three concrete examples from your previous work experience that can potentially apply to the questions they’ll ask in relation to the new role. The goal here is to showcase your accomplishments and prove that you are great at what you do.
2. Look the part and pack accordingly
For a brand new sense of motivation, don’t dust off your interview outfit from the last job hunt and settle with that. Plan a new interview outfit that makes you feel confident and try it on. Most importantly, make sure it fits, but is also clean and presentable. The ideal outfit should be suited for the specific job type and company dress code. Every company has their own version of normal. If you’re ever unsure of how casual a company is, err on the side of dressing more professional instead of looking underdressed. To complete the perfect outfit, practice self-care! For some, that could be grooming facial hair, for others, it could be a manicure. Looking your best helps you feel your best.
In addition to your outfit, make sure to pack and organize your bag with the essentials. You don’t want to be rummaging around your purse looking for lost items like Hermione from Harry Potter - it’s not a good look. Bring your driver’s license, extra copies of your resume and references list, some pens, and anything else employers could potentially ask for.
Now that many interviews are conducted virtually through Zoom, you don’t have to worry so much about what to pack. However, dressing the part is still important! Even if the interviewer can only see your top half, they will be making a first impression based off of how prepared you look. Plus, getting dressed in your perfect interview outfit will make you feel more confident.
3. Be prepared to answer FAQs
“So, tell me a little bit about yourself?” This is a simple question and usually the first to be asked in an interview. At the same time, it’s the question that causes many people to freeze up. Have your elevator speech down pat to showcase your background, experience, and strengths. Practicing your answers out loud can also be more helpful than only thinking about them in your head. You’ll want to avoid rambling or giving long-winded, unfocused responses to your future employer. Instead, you always want to get your point across in a manner that proves you are well prepared and knowledgeable on the subject at hand.
Chances are, there will be at least one curveball question that you didn’t anticipate. Don’t panic! Come up with a go-to method that will help you avoid silence and stall a little bit while you gather your thoughts. Repeating the question thoughtfully before answering could provide just enough time for you to come up with an intelligent and relevant answer.
4. Arrive on time
It’s best to arrive for your interview 10-15 minutes early. Always anticipate traffic or other delays to play it safe. You could even drive the route ahead of the scheduled interview to have a better travel estimate under normal conditions.
If your interview is virtual, you can still show up early. Have the Zoom call pulled up and ready to go on your computer and sit down at least 10 minutes early. Ideally, you should attempt to troubleshoot the software you’ll be using so that you don’t have any technical issues the day of the interview.
5. Be confident
You’ll perform better in your interview if you’re in the right state of mind. You’ve made it this far in the process, so your interviewer is already impressed with your resume and qualifications. Don’t strive for a perfect interview, but attempt to highlight your best qualities and experiences with detailed accounts of your success. Prove to them why you are the right candidate for the job. Again, preparing ahead of time and dressing the part can really feed into that confidence.
Looking for your dream job or have an interview lined up with TeamPeople? We offer a wide range of job opportunities across the media industry, from creative to technical and everything in between. We help ensure our candidates are prepared for their interviews and provide tips on how to land a role at our client sites. Head to our talent page to learn about the perks of pursuing your passions at TeamPeople and check out our job board to see our current list of open positions.