Set Yourself Up For Success With These Interview Prep Tips

Why do people interview? Is it to uncover your passion further? Looking for answers to questions your last company could not provide? Find a better culture fit? Help you grow into an expert in the field? Well the answer is all of the above. Each interview a candidate does with a prospect company uncovers truths about what they are looking for in their future whether it be the culture or position and it also uncovers hidden talents and passions and even weaknesses. All to help you as an individual. The interview aspect is just as important for employers but let’s walk through the stages as a candidate to ensure you uncover what you are seeking and potentially an opportunity with the organization. 

Before you have gotten the notice that you have progressed onto the interview stage, first make sure that you have a good online presence. Scour your social media for anything that may jeopardize your image to employers. Once you have done that, continue on to researching the company to be more informed in your interview. Here are things you should research and why:

Know the job description by heart 
      1. This will ensure that you are familiar with the position and understand what the hiring manager is looking for when interviewing.
        •  For example, if the job description has a focus or need for increasing sales for the company, make sure you have examples ready of when you were able to deliver results. 
      2. Highlight the skills and requirements from the position that you bring to the table. Be ready to answer questions how you have acquired or used these skills and how you plan on using them in the future. 
      3. If  technical and software skills are required for this position, make sure to mention  your experience with these programs and platforms to showcase your capability. 
Note any company characteristics
      1. This could be if they’re a private or public owned business or a minority owned business and if they do philanthropic acts or any forms or community engagement. 
        • Mentioning these things in the interview will signal to the hiring manager that you are paying attention to the company culture as a whole and have a genuine interest in working there. 
      2. Look up how long the company has been around, what industry are they in, and their competitors. This can help you answer questions adeptly that show your interest in the position and company. 
Look at the mission statement and values
      1. Write down what resonates with you. If you mention these during the interview, the interviewer will take note of this and know that the values of the company align with yours; this helps the interviewer assess if you will be a good cultural fit for the company. 
      2. Understanding the mission statement and values will help you answer questions such as, “why do you want to work for this company” which you can answer with, “I resonate with your values where you stated, x, y, and z and I always try to uphold that in my life”. 
Get familiar with their online presence
      1. Just as employers are looking at your online presence, you can look at your potential employers’ social media and reviews. This will help you understand the culture of their company and if you want to work there.
      2. Looking at their reviews is a gateway to ask questions. If their reviews are good, you can ask how they were able to create a wonderful environment or have such a great reputation. If the reviews are negative, you can mention how you can improve processes at their company to improve their business. 
Research who you are interviewing with 
      1. The internet makes it easier than ever to find out who the hiring manager is and what the company looks like in a grand scheme. Utilizing tools such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to gather information on the organization.
      2. Looking at their website can also help you discover the company hierarchy, certain milestones, such as anniversaries, and accomplishments
      3. The more you know about the company and what it values, the more equipped you will be to, not only ace the interview and ask stellar questions, but you will show enthusiasm as an individual. 


Potential Interview Questions to Anticipate 

There are interview questions that are commonly asked, and you should have a solid answer for all of them. Here are common questions and tips on how to answer them. 

Tell me about yourself
      1. The answer to this question should pertain to the position you are applying for. Talk about your career path and not about menial things like your hobbies. 
      2. Keep it between 60-90 seconds to make sure you do not get off topic
Why do you want to work for this company?
      1. Refer to the above tips from research you did on the company. Discuss how their mission statement, values, and company culture match with your goals. 
      2. Highlight their milestones and the potential for growth and tenure. 
How do you manage a heavy workload?
      1. Give an example of a time where you were able to successfully handle and execute a difficult task. 
      2. Ensure that you will implement what you learned from difficult tasks into your new role if needed. 
Tell me about a time you didn’t get along with a co-worker, how do you deal with that? 
      1. This question reveals how you handle conflict and if you don’t handle it in a productive manner, it can be a turn off for the employer.
      2. Never say that you didn’t mend the relationship or ignored the problem.  
Why are you leaving your current position?
      1. Be honest for the reasons but avoid speaking negatively in any manner about past employers and past companies. 

Situational and Behavioral Questions

There are various other questions that can be asked, such as behavioral or situational questions. They can be questions like:

      1. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?” 
      2. How would you handle receiving criticism from a superior?

Both of these questions can be answered with the STAR interview method to create a clear, concise story that fully answers the question. Read more about it to ensure that you communicate to the hiring manager that you can fulfill all roles of the job. Research commonly asked behavioral and situational interview questions in your industry; have anecdotes and statistics on hand to relay to the interviewer. 


Are You Ready?

Now that you have prepared for the interview, check out our blog on how to ace the interview process and appropriate next steps. 


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