Have you ever been disappointed or confused right after a job interview? I have, but not because of a recruiter but because of my performance.
When I have been prepared, it has always been easier during the interview. The one time I winged it, I was caught by surprise because I haven’t prepared enough.
Since I became a recruiter I’ve had the chance to talk with a lot of great people, and even though candidates sometimes seem to be perfect, I occasionally get the feeling that the chat might have gone better.
I’m lucky that now not only have I got my dream job, but I get to help others get theirs too!
So here you go - these are my 5 steps to prepare for an interview and most importantly succeed:
1. Be curious 🧐
Do your research. But try to have fun with it! If it’s a role/company that you like, chances are, you might like learning about them too.
You can’t go wrong with a good, old fashioned Google search! Carefully read their website, glance at any articles about them. Perhaps they’ve just merged with another company or recently have picked up some fundings and are planning to grow. Try to get as much information as possible to really understand the phase that the company is in.
It might be useful to search for other’s comments and experiences about the company on Glassdoor. But take them with a pinch of salt; they might not always apply to the role you’ve applied for and everyone’s experiences are different!
Read the job description thoroughly. Make sure you’ve got what it takes to be the right candidate for them. Check that you have most of their 'must-haves' but also see what they can offer you!
Check their Instagram for their office life (backstage). How’s the vibe there? Are they diverse or international? See which values they cherish and check if the working environment suits you.
2. Interview yourself 🙋♀️
Start by asking yourself “Do I really want this role? Do I really like this company?” Then follow with some common questions you may hear during the meeting.
What are your strengths or weaknesses? Pinpoint at least three exciting projects that you’re proud of. Describe what you gained out of less successful tasks.
What motivated you to start this new challenge? Think about the aspects that really appeal to you, whether they’re responsibilities, the company, opportunities for development or perhaps flexibility of working.
What type of working environment suits you? Think about your previous experiences and figure out which setting you can be at your best, what gives you energy and which conditions make you feel limited.
3. It never hurts to ask...
...and this definitely applies to a job interview!
In the end, you’re the one who will join this company or team. Remember that the recruitment process is not only for the company to get to know you but also for you to check if you like them. During the recruitment process, you should prepare some crucial questions that help you make the best choice.
Here are some for your inspiration:
- What are the growth opportunities for this role?
- What does a typical day look like?
- What do you like or dislike about the company where you work?
- What skills are needed to be successful at this job and how do you measure success?
- What is the most challenging aspect of this job?
- Who will I be working most closely with? (main stakeholders)
- What do the people in your team value the most about working here?
- Is there anything about my background that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?
For more, follow this link. I promise - this time you won’t be sorry you asked!
4. Common ground 👯♂️
You really want to know the best way to break the ice? Finding common ground with your interviewer usually does the trick!
It may not always be easy, but try to find something you have in common with a recruiter or hiring manager.
Begin with checking their Linkedin profile. Look for similarities in experiences, go through mutual connections and look at recent activities or country where they are from. Perhaps you know someone who works/has worked with them, you have both participated in the same event or you both moved from abroad?
If you dig well you may find some fun facts, such as you both went to the same high school or you both own the same breed of dog.
5. Last but not least ☝️
Never underestimate the power of the basics! Here are some practical tips worth remembering.
Don’t be late - check how long it takes to get to a company’s office or make sure your internet connection works just right. You don’t want to start your meeting being stressed out about the time.
Practice with your friends - if you don’t have much experience with interviewing, just ask your friend to practice with you. Focus on the right tone of voice, your body language and your eye contact. Ask for the feedback afterwards and improve.
Stay honest - don't say what you think someone wants to hear. Be authentic, answer according to your knowledge and experiences. If you don’t know something, instead of pretending, ask questions or let them know you're eager to learn about the topic.
Hope these few steps will help you on the way to getting your dream job and making the right decision about your career. Keep in mind that it’s all about practice, knowing what you want, who you are and persistence