Guest Blog written by SheFactor Contributor Kelly Nash, Lip Stick & Ink
You landed a job interview – congrats! That is half the battle in obtaining a new job. Through all the job applying and interviews I’ve done in my post-college life, I’ve definitely learned some tricks of the trade to set myself up for success. Careful preparation beforehand is key to making yourself shine in the actual interview. It’s critical to do thorough research on the job role and company and also to anticipate questions you will be asked. Before you head into that big interview, review the below tips I’ve found most helpful. I promise that you will go into the meeting feeling more confident and ready to impress that potential new employer.
The first thing I’d recommend you do is read and re-read the job opening description and requirements. First and foremost, feel confident in that you are qualified. Secondly, by doing this, you’re getting an understanding of what the recruiter and hiring manager are looking for. During the interview, apply what they’re looking for with your own strengths and accomplishments. This is a way to subtly pepper that in to the conversation without being too explicit.
I also recommend researching the company extensively. It’s obvious to review the company website, so you can always start there. I then typically search the company in Google to see what news articles pop up, making sure to read the most recent. This helps to not only to get a feel for what the company is doing, but also to see how the company is portrayed in the media. It also never hurts to research the company’s social channels. This way, you can get a sense of what kind of message they are putting forth externally.
As I am researching, I personally like to keep a tally of everything in a Word or Google document. What I typically do is type up information into a Word doc so I can stay organized and have something to reference in the days leading up to the interview. I’ll record all my research on the company, as well as questions I anticipate will come up in the interview.
The biggest advice I can give you is to think like an interviewer or hiring manager. What kind of questions would you ask someone if you were interviewing? I’ll jot down some initial questions I think they’ll ask me, and then I head to Glassdoor.com. You can search the company there to see if any past interview information has been published. From there, I recommend Googling things like “X role interview questions” to see what’s out there in cyberspace. After I have a long list of questions, I’ll take a lot of time to think about how I’ll answer those. I make sure to type my answers into the document as well and practice saying them out loud.
The last thing I do in my document is think of questions I’ll want to ask the interviewer about the role or company culture, for example. By the time I’m done with all these exercises, I have a pretty meaty document that I can then print off and use as a ‘study guide’ of sorts to feel 100% confident when I walk into that interview.
It never hurts to reach out to people you know that work at the company you have an interview with. It’s always good to get a lay of the land and get an honest opinion from an insider. One thing I’ve done in the past is put the name of the company into the Search bar on LinkedIn to see if any of my connections work there. As I mentioned in my post about how I obtained my previous jobs, I did this before an interview with a company a few years ago. I was able to connect with someone who had previously worked at the company I was interviewing with and he was able to share additional information that I wouldn’t have received otherwise. Not only that, he made an introduction to a hiring manager at Salesforce, which ultimately helped me snag a job.
This should go without saying, but you need to dress to impress. My motto is that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. After you’ve done your research on the company, you should have a pretty good idea of what is appropriate to wear. If you’re still unsure, I recommend reaching out to close family and friends to get their opinion. I’m personally known for sending mirror pics to my friends to get their opinions when I’m unsure of an outfit choice!
It’s normal to feel uneasy and nervous walking into an interview, no matter how much you prepare. Try your best to take a couple deep breaths beforehand. I always try to tell myself to treat it as a regular conversation. Otherwise, you can totally psych yourself out and let your nervousness take over. It sounds so cliche, but just to be yourself and feel confident in who you are and what you say.
Obviously, best-case scenario, you walk out of the interview and receive a job offer within a few days. But if it just so happens you are rejected from the job, it’s important to not take it personally. There’s so many different reasons a company may reject a candidate. I’ve been told in the past that I was not fully qualified for a job and then I’ve been told that I was overqualified. I’ve also been told that I was a company’s prime candidate, only to find out that they then had to close the job opening for financial reasons. Go into an interview with an open mind and with a “whatever happens, happens” attitude. With a positive attitude and these five simple steps, you will surely be set up for success. Now go and kick ass in that interview!