Skipping a Step When Preparing for an Interview Could Be a Mistake

Mar 19, 2022

The interviewing process has stayed relatively consistent over the years. They have a basic list of questions and want to know why you want to work for them or what qualifications you bring to their business. They may even throw a question at you entirely unrelated to the position, like "What animal would you choose to be if you could?" Whether you have been on 1, 2, or 20 interviews, it is always imperative to prepare yourself each time. Just because the previous occasions have gone one way or another does not mean a curveball will not come your way. The employer may have a leg up on you by leading the interview, but you can intrigue them by sounding confident and collected no matter what they throw your way. Being unprepared can foil even the best-laid plans, so read over these helpful tips to ensure you are ready to knock your next interview out of the park.

1 - Research the Position and Company

When you applied for the position, you looked at the company you used to, but did you look deeper? The best way to prepare yourself is to know more about the company and the tasks required of that position. If they have a website, check out the "About Us" page and read their mission statement. What drives them to succeed? If you are looking for a career, you want to work for a company whose business beliefs are similar to your own. The same prep work goes into the specific position you are applying for. You want an in-depth look at your potential new day-to-day lifestyle.

2 - Practice Your Answers

You may not be ready for every question, but you can prepare to elaborate on the position qualifications by digging into the job posting. List the qualifications they seek and what you offer. If you are weak in one but strong in others, prepare to explain how you plan to strengthen your weakness. Some of the most common questions to prepare for are, "Why should we hire you?" and "Why do you want to work for us?" Keep your answers short, direct, and to the point. Elaborating too much without prompt will draw down your confidence.

3 - Bring your Own Questions

At the end of an interview, they may ask if you have any questions. Be prepared with at least one, but not something about pay or benefits. Since you researched the company and position, ask them about their business. Ask them to explain their company mission statement, average turnover rate, and why people stay or leave. Ask them about their plans for the company's growth. If you want to stay with something more related to your position, you can ask if there is anything of concern that you might be able to focus on for improvement, whether or not you get the job.

4 - Sell Yourself and Your Qualifications

They will ask you about yourself, your qualifications, and perhaps your hobbies during the interview. Take these opportunities to sell yourself. These questions are where you get to shine, impress them with your strengths, and show them you are enthusiastic about what you do in and out of the office. Although this moment is about you, do not put yourself above previous coworkers in a demeaning or unprofessional way. Find that professional common ground to brag without having to take another person down to do it. This should be about you and your accomplishments and experience.

5 - Prep the Day Before

An essential part of your interview is dressing the part. Although no one should judge someone by appearance, first impressions trigger a deciding factor. When you walk in, shake hands, make direct eye contact, and be dressed appropriately. Dress as you would daily on the job. Consider the rest of you as well: clean fingernails, brushed and done-up hairstyle or a neat haircut, and light makeup. You see yourself every day and may not think about what others notice right away. Lay your outfit out the night before, so you are less apt to change your mind and be stressed right before the interview. Don't forget to smile when you can. 

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