7 Steps To Prepare for Your Interview
You just heard they want you to come for an interview!
Why do we get nervous and overwhelmed?
Because there is something important at stake.
Because we are afraid of the unknown.
Because we hope they like us.
But what you need to remember is that this interview is a 2-way street. You are interviewing them as well! You want a job that fits your experience level, strengths, and passions. You want a company that fits your personality and character. So focus on the fact that this is an opportunity to see if you are BOTH a good fit for each other.
You may have a lot at stake, but they have a lot to lose if they hire the wrong person. I think it is healthy to always view a situation from the other perspective because it makes the person or business more human and less intimidating.
As you prepare for your interview, remember they are trying to learn 3 things from you:
1. They want to know if can do the job.
2. If you actually want the job and will be dedicated.
3. If you will fit with their existing team.
Now that we have our mindset straight about the upcoming interview, let’s go over my 7 main tips for interview prep. It takes effort but it will pay off. These tips are from my Interview Prep Workbook + Video and from countless one-on-one interview prep coaching sessions.
Think about it this way....If you don't put forth effort to properly prepare for the interview, why should I think you will put forth effort as an intern or employee? For example, if you don't have any questions prepared, it would make me think you have not prepared and you are not truly interested in the company.
Knowing the company, people, and current events of the company will help you answer questions, ask questions, and will reflect your knowledge/interest of the company.
Research the company - website, social media, LinkedIn, Google the company
What do they do? What do they offer? What is their newest offering/product?
What is their mission? What is their history?
Who works for them?
Research the position/job you're applying for
Can you find someone on LinkedIn who has the same position or worked their previously? What did they say they did?
Research your interviewer on LinkedIn (if known) or on google.
2. PREPARE STRONG QUESTIONS
Based off the information you've gained from researching, what questions can you ask them? I am not talking about questions about when you will start or how long the internship is... those are "housekeeping" questions.
What are the goals of this department or company?
What do you love about your job?
How could I fill gaps, improve the department, or alleviate others on the team? What areas could I assist in improving or growing?
3. REVIEW YOUR RESUME
So many people will write their resume, apply to countless jobs and not look back at their resume again. Read your resume like you have never read it before. In my opinion, knowing the company and the position is second to knowing yourself and your experience.
Be prepared to expand on each item on your resume with examples, skills, and experiences.
Which leads us to step 4.
4. COMPLETE THE SKILL EXERCISE
Though this is number 4 on the list, it is my #1 piece of advice for my resume clients. Use the list of skills on your resume and in your cover letter as your interview prep tool. When writing your resume, you should have developed a list of skills that you have acquired and strengthened during your education and experiences. Write out each skill on the left-hand side of a piece of paper and then write an experience (story) that goes with each skill. Connect your skills to your experiences.
This will help you when they ask that unexpected interview question. Practice telling your experience with your skills intertwined.
If this seems overwhelming but interesting, learn how to discover and communicate your skills in the Personal Branding for Professionals online course.
5. PRACTICE THE COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
There a numerous resources available online but the most common 15 questions can be found in THE INTERVIEW the Workbook (Purchase Here).
Know how to introduce and describe yourself in just a few minutes, and be able to highlight aspects of your resume or experiences that are applicable. If you are struggling with this, think of telling a story about yourself.
If you are still having issues, email Eloise at Eloise@eloisedesignco.com to schedule an interview prep session.
6. PREPARE FOR JOB SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
This step is so important but so often ignored. Give it a try for your next interview and I promise it will make a difference!
Take the company overview, job description, requirements, and responsibilities and go through each line. Read it aloud and then write out one of the following to each one:
1. Can serve that need
2. Have completed, accomplished, improved, or excelled at that task
3. Have proven your competency in that skill
4. How you can explain how you are in agreement or value the same thing (company overview)
7. REMEMBER YOU ARE A BRAND
Everything you share with the employer (resume, email, cover letter, references, your appearance, your speaking, your attitude, etc.) contributes to your brand. Make sure your appearance and materials match the quality of work you can do for them.
What you wear should reflect you but be customized to your target audience (the company). Think about the company culture when planning your outfit. Look up the people who work there on LinkedIn and see their profile picture. Their style will tell you a lot about the company culture. Heels or wedges are always good for posture and 1 nice clean bag for your personal items, resume, portfolio, etc. is best. When in doubt where a black outfit and accessorize.
Think about the documents you need to take with you and how will you present them in the interview? All of your items should be branded and consistent. Quality matters.
Here is what I suggest bringing:
Resume (5 copies printed on white card stock)
Business Cards (optional)
Portfolio (if necessary for your degree/position)
Letters of Recommendation or Reference List (if requested)
Know the destination of the interview, and plan to arrive 15 minutes early!
Figure out what the parking situation is and plan accordingly.
Want to learn more?
These are just a few tips to make you feel more prepared for your interview.
If you'd like a step-by-step guide to prepare for your interview, you can purchase THE INTERVIEW Workbook that includes questions and answers, example questions for employers, steps to prepare for a situational interview, tips for phone and video interviews, and SO much more.