You applied for the job. Then, a hiring manager contacts you for an interview – fantastic! After jumping for joy for a few moments, you quickly stop and think, “Wait a second… How do I prepare for the big interview and land the job?”
Here are seven tips to prepare for any job interview from the career and workplace experts at Glassdoor, the leading social jobs and career community:
1. Research the Job
First, read the job description and its requirements over and over. Then, when you think you know it inside and out, read it one more time. By truly understanding what a hiring manager is looking for, you can use the details provided in the job description to speak to your strengths and accomplishments that match these specific areas. For example, does the job description call out that the employer is looking for a person that is “Energetic, a self-starter and a resourceful problem solver”, if so, think through your recent experiences and identify a time when you demonstrated these strengths.
2. Research the Company
Knowledge really is power, so make yourself memorable to a hiring manager by knowing as much about their department, and the company as possible. Visit the company’s website and get familiar with its history and mission statement, corporate values, the CEO and other senior leaders. Don’t forget to read up on the latest company news, specifically, any headlines that are relevant to the company and area where you are looking to work. In addition, check out company reviews on Glassdoor to find out how other employees at the company have rated and reviewed their experience on the job. Company reviews are a useful way to find out what it’s like to walk the halls of a company, what employees like best about working there, and what they feel are some of the downsides.
3. Talk to Anyone Who Works There
Make it a mission of yours to talk with anyone that works or has worked at the company to get even more personal advice on what the company wants in its employees, and insights on what happens during the interview process. Ask anyone and everyone you know, from your personal friends, to your Facebook friends, to family members, even acquaintances.
[Related: How to Network Your Way to a New Job]
4. Practice Your Responses to Interview Questions
With each response, the key is to keep in mind that you want to show a hiring manager your value and how you can help solve their challenges. It’s not all about what you want, so you may want to avoid asking about compensation and benefits during your first interview. With a friend or family member, practice responses to common interview questions, such as:
- Why are you interested in working here?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What days are you available to work? Not available?
In addition, be aware that many companies these days are asking oddball interview questions. For example, a Trader Joe’s candidate was asked: “What do you think of garden gnomes?” Why? It’s a way for a hiring manager to test a job candidate’s creativity and critical thinking skills and find out who may be a good cultural fit for the company.
5. Be Prepared to Ask Questions
To further show your interest, make sure you engage in the conversation and ask a few questions related to the specific job, the company or potential team members. A few questions might include:
- What else might the job require?
- What’s the work environment like?
- Do you give feedback on performance?
- Are there career growth opportunities available?
[Related: Top 10 Oddball Interview Questions for 2016]
6. Dress to Impress
First impressions do matter, so dress as professional as possible to go along with your professional attitude. This doesn’t always mean a suit and tie for men, or skirt suit and hosiery for women (which is recommended for many jobs), but the key is to review your wardrobe beforehand, and select your favorite professional look that’s appropriate for the company you’re interviewing at. If you’re not sure, ask family and friends for their input. But don’t wait until the last minute – you want to ensure the clothes you select are clean and wrinkle-free.
[Related: How to Dress for an Interview]
7. Take Care to Put Your Best Foot Forward
To put “the very best you” before any interviewer, make sure you feel good inside and out. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before, eat healthy foods the day of your interview (and foods that agree with you), brush your teeth (no coffee breath) and comb your hair. Plus, don’t show up late in a sweat or in a panic, so take time the day before to map out how you’ll get to the interview (doing a test run is best if you can). If it’s a phone interview, make sure you’re in a quiet room where no one will disturb you.
By following these tips from Glassdoor, you’ll be on your way to impressing those that matter most during your interview, and hopefully, landing the job.