You landed a job interview – congrats! That is half the battle in obtaining a new job.
Through all the job applying and interviews I’ve done in my post-college life, I’ve definitely learned some tricks of the trade to set myself up for success. Careful preparation beforehand is key to making yourself shine in the actual interview. It’s critical to do thorough research on the job role and company and also to anticipate questions you will be asked.
Before you head into that big interview, review the below tips I’ve found most helpful. I promise that you will go into the interview feeling more confident and ready to crush your interview.
Create a “Study Guide”
As I am researching, I like to keep a tally of everything in a Word or Google document. It’s what I lovingly call my “study guide.” I highly recommend doing this, as it allows you to keep your research organized and have all your prep in one place to reference in the days leading up to the interview.
Do Your Research
Time to do your research! The first thing I’d recommend you do is to read and re-read the job opening description and requirements. First and foremost, feel confident that you are qualified. Secondly, by doing this, you’re getting an understanding of what the recruiter and hiring manager are looking for.
Next, record everything you can on the company itself. It’s obvious to review the company website, so you can always start there. I then typically search the company in Google to see what news articles pop up, making sure to read the most recent. This helps not only to get a feel for what the company is doing but also to see how the company is portrayed in the media. Definitely check out the company’s social channels too to get a sense of their branding and voice in the market.
Prepare for the Anticipated Questions – And Prepare Your Own
Re-review the job role and description and anticipate questions the recruiter or team you’re meeting with will ask you. The biggest advice I can give you is to think like an interviewer or hiring manager. What kind of questions would you ask someone if you were interviewing? I’ll jot down some initial questions I think they’ll ask me, and then I head to Glassdoor.com. You can search the company there to see if any past interview information has been published. From there, I recommend Googling things like “X role interview questions” to see what’s out there in cyberspace. Once you nail down some of the questions you think you’ll be asked, take some time to think about how you’ll answer. Write out your responses in your study guide.
Think about what questions you too want to ask the interviewer. Whether it’s about the company culture, the role, or the team you will potentially be on. Write those down in your document too to help you memorize them for the actual interview day. By the time I’m done with all these exercises, I have a pretty meaty document that I can then print off and use as a ‘study guide’ of sorts to feel 100% confident when I walk into that interview.
It never hurts to reach out to people you know that work at the company you have an interview with. It’s always good to get a lay of the land and get an honest opinion from an insider. One thing I’ve done in the past is type the name of the company into the Search bar on LinkedIn to see if any of my connections work there. As I mentioned in my post about how I obtained my previous jobs, I did this before an interview with a company a few years ago. I was able to connect with someone who had previously worked at the company I was interviewing with and he was able to share additional information that I wouldn’t have received otherwise. Not only that, but he also made an introduction to a hiring manager at Salesforce, which ultimately helped me snag a job.
Take a Deep Breath
It’s normal to feel uneasy and nervous walking into an interview, no matter how much you prepare. Try your best to take a couple of deep breaths beforehand. If you think of your upcoming interview as just a conversation, it will calm you down. You got this!
After all of this, you should feel ready to impress that potential new employer! Ready to crush your interview?
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, events host, speaker, and founder of Lipstick & Ink®, a career and wellness organization aimed to motivate female 9-5ers and side hustlers to own their power and make their mark. In addition to her writing and career consulting experience with L&I®, Kelly works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce. She is also in the process of writing her first book.
Kelly has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets including Thrive Global, International Association of Women, General Assembly, TheGlu, SheFactor, EvolveHer, Cliquish, and Six Degrees Society.