Interviewing is not everyone’s cup of tea. On the bright side, if you mess up an interview, it makes for a great learning experience, or you know, a great story at least. I learned this the hard way.
When I was in a pageant back in the old days, I was asked the question “There has been a lot of pollution in the Connoquenessing Creek in your hometown, why do you think this is?” My response, priceless, “Well, if you saw some of the people from my hometown, you would understand.” Charming, right? Yeah, they didn’t think so. I lost that pageant.
Anyway, I have had my fair share of interviews from pageants to my first real job with the company I am with now. With each interview, I’ve learned something new to carry over to the next opportunity.
Here are my seven tips I have to offer for your next interview:
1. Do research on the company for whom you are interviewing
Research the company: their mission, past and current projects, media coverage, peaks and downfalls, executives, the scope of the position for which you are applying, etc. Glassdoor is a great source to use for research. You can find salary estimates, company reviews, questions asked in interviews with previous candidates. I urge you, however, take these reviews and information on this site with a grain of salt, for it is a site where people can post anonymously and bad reviews could have come from people who have bad blood from said company, good reviews could come from current employees and who knows, the interview questions posted could be fabricated. Regardless, the site is a nice outside source for extra visibility from the inside.
2. Show confidence
Yeah, this is kind of cliché. However, it takes time to build up the confidence to show one or a few people why you would be an asset to their company. Show them your strengths, focus on your successes and with whatever failure you have endured, you have taken away something for future projects.
3. Have questions ready to ask your interviewer
What is your ideal candidate for this role? What are the daily responsibilities for this position? Is there room for growth? Asking questions like these will show your interest in the position and your self management in wanting to be prepared if you would be given the position.
4. Don’t neglect your failures
One thing my boss at my current job taught me was to never make excuses for your failures, own them and learn from them. Most likely in an interview, you’ll be asked to tell them about a time you failed at something and what you learned. Think about this in advance and a relevant lesson that you learned that can be applied to the position for which you are applying.
5. Highlight your best qualities
Your interviewer will probably ask about the qualities you have that makes you a good hire for the specific position. Again, think about this in advance and make sure you are totally transparent. Use personal anecdotes that support these qualities and use them to your advantage. I saw a professional Instagram account that said “problem-solving, time management, oral communication, organization and adaptability” are the top five skills sought out for by employers. If these skills describe you, make sure you verbalize that!
6. Show your knowledge of the company
Circling back to tip numero uno, expressing your knowledge of current projects in the company, past successes and failures and showing your interest in wanting to be a part of what is to come moving forward is a great way to let them know your investment in their company’s involvement.
After you are finished with your interview, whether it be in-person or via phone/skype, send an email to the interviewer or call him/her to say thanks for the opportunity and that it was great speaking with them. I always make sure to set an alarm on my phone to remind me to send a follow-up email before the end of the business day or early the next morning. Expressing gratitude is a professional courtesy that does not go unnoticed!
I hope these tips are helpful to you in prepping for your next interview! Good luck & happy interviewing!