Whether you’re applying for a new job or looking to advance your current role, an interview is a surefire way to break the ice and set the tone for how you’ll work as colleagues. After all, not only will this one conversation paint a clear picture about whether you’ll mesh well with others, but it’ll also give them a sense of what kind of a workplace they might be joining. So how do you prepare for a job interview?
Research the company
First things first, do your research. If you’re applying for a marketing-focused role, you might want to learn more about the company’s revenue model. If you’re applying for a customer-care role, you might want to understand the company’s product or service offering.
Or if you’re applying for a managerial role, you might want to learn about the company’s culture or the level of seniority the role requires—this information can go a long way in helping you frame your approach during an interview.
Before you can even think about being someone else, you need to be yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the interview process and even easier to fall into the trap of trying to “be someone else.” If you’ve been trying to be the perfect employee for the past year, you’re not the right fit for the company, and you’re certainly not the “right” fit for the interviewer.
Review your resume and cover letter
When you’re ready to research the company, make sure you also look at its website, social media channels, and other sources to get a sense of the culture and how you’ll fit in. If you’ve used a resume service, make sure to double-check the document. You don’t want to send an interviewee’s resume to an employer only to have them notice a mistake or two.
You can also use the cover letter as a chance to clarify or expand on certain points in your resume. If you’re applying for a marketing-focused role, you might want to clarify your digital marketing experience in the cover letter. If you’re applying for a customer-care role, you might want to explain your experience with handling issues for a particular product or service.
Don’t take it personally
As much as you might want to take the interviewer’s words personally, you need to put their feelings aside and focus on how your skills and experience will serve them. If the interviewer took a negative tone, that’s OK. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad fit, and it doesn’t mean they don’t want to hire you.
If an interviewer says they want someone who is more verbal, you don’t want to assume they want you to become a “babble-brain” and use a lot of jargon. Instead, take the feedback with a grain of salt and use it to better tailor your approach.
Establish a professional tone right away
When you walk into an interview, you want to create a sense of professionalism from the start. You don’t want to walk in with messy hair, wrinkled clothes, and a bad attitude. You want to walk in with confidence, but not arrogance.
You also don’t want to walk into an interview like you’re trying too hard like you have nothing to offer and you’re eager to impress. Instead, you want to walk in like you’re an asset to the company like you can speak on their behalf, and like you know how to present yourself professionally.
At the end of the day, an interview is a chance to get to know each other better and to figure out if there’s potential for a good fit. While you might want to land the job, you also need to remember that you’re interviewing the company, and not just you.
If a hiring manager is meeting with a few candidates, it’s likely they’re trying to find someone who will be a good cultural fit and who would be an asset to the team. While you can’t control the situation, you can control how you approach the interview, starting with prepping yourself.