It’s said that luck favors the prepared. When it comes to job interviews, being well prepared is often what sets the best applicants apart from the rest. Here are 12 of my favorite job interview tips to make your next one go smoothly.
Before the job interview:
1. When possible, know the names and faces of the team you’re interviewing with; consider researching them on the company’s website, or on LinkedIn. Identifying shared experiences and interests helps set the stage for an easy, casual conversation during the interview.
2. Learn about the company’s products or services, and how they work. How does the company make money? How does it present itself by way of branding, marketing, and advertisement?
3. Be current with news and social media conversations about the company. Being able to speak to the “water cooler topics” at the company shows that you’ll fit in because you care about these topics as well.
4. Know the role you’re interviewing for and come prepared with good ideas on how you can help the company achieve its goals.
5. Get directions and maps to the company ready in advance, so you can be calm and collected when you arrive.
The day of your job interview:
1. Allow plenty of time to arrive 5–10 minutes early. If you’re flying to a new city and taking a taxi to your interview, save or print a map so you’re certain of your destination before hopping out. Many businesses can spread their offices across several buildings or floors.
2. Wait for your appointments with a calm, collected demeanor, put away your phone, and show that your full attention is on the interview at hand.
3. Have a copy of your resume and cover letter ready for each person who you’ll interview with.
4. Be prepared with a notepad and pen, so you can jot notes as you learn more about the company and your prospective team members from interviewers.
5. Follow any special instructions given to you closely. For example, one company asked every job applicant to bring a pencil to their interview, and seeing whether or not they actually did so spoke volumes to their ability to follow detailed instructions.
6. Greet your interviewer with a confident handshake and engage in a productive conversation. You’ll be answering their questions, but also have the opportunity to make a strong first impression by asking your own.
7. Ask thoughtful questions about the company that show you’ve done your homework. These could include your observations on a recent marketing campaign, thoughts about a particular product line, or trending news in the company’s primary market space.
You can learn even more about preparing for your interview and answering the trickiest questions with these two tips from Acing Your Interview:
Anticipating job interview questions and preparing answers
Handling tricky or difficult questions
Best of luck on your next job interview!