Job seekers often confess to me that they get nervous before and during job interviews. They feel that their nervousness is often visible and has a direct effect on how they are perceived and on the results of the interview. Unfortunately they are right. To overcome their fears or at least to press on through their nervousness, the advice I always give job seekers is to prepare for the encounter before the interview.
The best way to prepare and increase your advantage over other job seekers with similar credentials is to research the company thoroughly to give you a better understanding of the company and the job being presented to you. Search the company website, industry associations, and competition and Google the company and industry. Look for information on issues the company is currently facing, what their history says about their future, and new projects or products the department is working on to get a true understanding of the company’s standings, future and culture.
If the company is large or well-known, you can also look on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter. Find out what others are saying about the company, their products, and management. Even more importantly, conduct research to determine if this is a company you can help, succeed at, and is a good fit for you and your career goals.
Once you have a thorough understanding of what the company and position is looking for, you can determine how to showcase your specific and unique skills and experience to help the company accomplish their goals. Identifying these needs will also help you prepare for the different types of questions that will be likely asked. If you don’t have any questions available to you, search the Internet for interview questions related to your field of work.
Many questions now used are behavioral type questions. For those that aren’t familiar with this term, it is the type of question that looks to your past for examples and answers, usually sounding something similar to, “Tell me about a time when you…”. It is a good idea to practice writing out answers to typically asked questions and questions specifically related to the problems you will be facing with this position. Again, the more you prepare, the more you will present yourself in a confident and knowledgeable expert.
Don’t forget to complete a last minute preparation check list to help you stand out:
- Know the names of the interviewers you will be meeting
- Know where you’ll be going, double check directions
- Err on the side of traditional and conservative when you dress for the interview
- Bring a portfolio with your career documents and any other relevant information
- Wash you vehicle before you drive to the interview; you never know who you’ll meet in the parking lot.
In order to succeed at anything you must practice in order to learn to do it well. Interviews are no different. Preparing information and practicing verbalizing your achievements and unique value will help you to be more confident and will demonstrate to the decision makers that you truly are the “right fit” for the job.