Dec 28, 2011
Interviewing is an art. And it’s stressful. But look, the reality is, it doesn’t have to be stressful.
So much of the stress placed on the interview process comes from you. There’s a few simple things you can do to prepare yourself for an interview.
1. Visit the company website – Please, whatever, you do, do not go on an interview without doing your due diligence on the company’s history and main business focus. Even if you’re not asked the standard interview question, “Tell me what you know about our company”, it’s still beneficial to know the company you’re interviewing for so you can customize your answers to the position and company you’re interviewing for specifically.
2. Research your contacts on LinkedIn – It’s called speaking to your audience. Knowing the background of your interviewer will allow you to tailor your answers to better match their skill level.
For example, explaining how to engineer new software to meet the company’s needs in narrow, technical terms will completely go over the head of an HR Manager. However, this line of answering can be extremely useful if you’re meeting with a Project Manager or Director of IT Infrastructure.
3. Leave any irrelevant information off your resume – You’re going to be questioned about every aspect of your resume. So if there’s anything you can’t explain in detail or it doesn’t directly enhance your appeal as a candidate, leave it off, it just muddies up your resume.
4. Be yourself – Employers want to know who you are. Your resume has spoken for itself and you have been brought in to interview based on the skills you have on paper. Now is the time to impress with personality. Here’s a quick tip. No job is worth forcing yourself to be someone you aren’t. The right fit is going to happen naturally.
We recently talked with a reporter for bankrate.com who was asking us about strange interview questions and why they were asked…(I will write a blog to follow up to this next week) but the quick answer is that your future employer just wants to know and understand how you operate under pressure. Do you lose your cool when you are tripped up or do you stay even tempered and remain quick on your feet.
This tip however, comes with a disclaimer…Don’t let your guard down. As comfortable as you feel in an interview, exercise a certain amount of restraint with your comments. Now is not the time to feel at home and like you’re shooting the breeze with a couple of friends. Everything you say and do is being evaluated, so maintain your composure, class and dignity. Small jokes are fine, excessive humor or revealing facts don’t have a place in the interview process.
5. Ask questions – Whether you come prepared with a list of questions or you develop them through the interview process, your interviewer wants you to ask them! This is as much your time to get to know your potential employer as it is the time for your employer to get to know you. Take this time to ask more about the scope of the position, clear up and misconceptions you feel you may have about the position and gain some insight on what the company really expects from you in the first 30, 60, 90 days.
Remember, the fit for a job is only right if it is right on both ends. The last thing you want is to get a new job just to find out that there is a cultural misfit and you’re either miserable or you wind up being let go because your employer expected something different from you.