7 Tips to Help You Get Ready for Your Next Job Interview
I have been through several career transitions during my life. Each transition gave me the opportunity to interview with many companies. I suppose looking for a new career, applying for numerous jobs and interviewing with various companies over a year’s time might not be everyone’s definition of “opportunity”, but to me it was and is.
Interviews are unique experiences that we can use to sharpen our listening skills, communication skills, to meet a new group of people and be exposed to a new company. Interviews are a time where we can get to know a company and they can get to know us. If we want to have a productive meeting and positive experience we should prepare for the interview meeting, just like we would for any other meeting.
Here are a few tips to help you do that.
- Get an Interview Notebook: I have notebooks for everything. I have notebooks for books I read, projects I am working on and for the interview process. Find a place you can keep notes, on paper or digitally, of the companies you interview with, contact information, important dates, actions, results and other pertinent information. This information can be used as a reference for future contact with these companies, and as a way to record your job search history.
- Research the Company Website: I picked this tip up from a job recruiter. It is common sense really, but something we can overlook when we get busy. Take out a pen and paper and sit down and research the company website. Take the time to find out what their values are, news updates, goals, customers, sponsors, staff, location, etc. Learn as much as you can from the website. You can use this information to have an informed discussion during your interview.
- Study the Job Description: Most of us read over the job description before an interview. A better approach might be to study the description. Get to know it well enough that you can refer to it during the interview and ask questions about it naturally.
- Develop a “I am the Right Person” Statement: Grab a pen and your notebook and sit down and develop a clear statement of why you are the right person for the job you are interviewing for. If you take the time to think this through and develop a statement you will be better prepared for your interview and ready for many of the questions they are going to ask.
- Develop a List of Your Skills and Experience. This may seem redundant, but it’s amazing what happens when we get five minutes into an interview and someone asks us what skills or past job experiences we have that we will be able to transfer to the position we are interviewing for. Our mouth drops and the word, huh, begins to develop. You have transferable skills and experience. Get them in your notebook so that when you get to your next interview you will be ready to share them.
- Prepare Questions to Ask. During the interview we get so concerned with answering questions that when they ask us if we have questions we often draw a blank. It is okay to take your notebook with you to the interview. In fact it looks good. They know you are prepared and are taking this opportunity seriously. Spend a few minutes developing a list of questions about the company and the position. Please make sure it’s not all about pay. That’s important, but there is more to the job than pay. If you follow the previous steps this may help you naturally develop some questions.
- Practice, practice, practice. Take 5 or 10 minutes with a career or life coach, friend or mentor and do a practice interview. At least talk about the company and the position and review what you have learned through your research. The time you spend talking about the company and job before the interview will not be a waste. When you show up to the interview it will be like continuing a natural conversation.
Going to job interviews is tiring, wounding to your self esteem and can be disheartening. We need a job or are going through a career transition and get our hopes up that this will be the interview and the company where we are going to work next. You are on an adventure. It’s a bumpy hard road sometimes. To help navigate the road to employment follow these tips and you will soon find yourself deciding which job offer to accept.