Complete Guide to Interviewing

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Being prepared for a job interview is the best way to help you enter the situation with greater confidence and be ready for any question they may ask. By doing your research, reviewing your resume, planning your attire and practicing, you will have the tools you need to land a job in your field. Use this guide to help you prepare for your next interview.

Research the company beyond their website

Being properly prepared for your interview can give you an added boost of confidence. Take the time to find out as much as you can about the company you are interviewing for as well as the position you hope to get. Read any recent news stories about the company or any new products they recently launched so you can show your interest in the company and what they do. 

You should also get a feel for the company’s values, mission statement and corporate culture. You can check their social media to see what people are saying about the company or products to get a more in-depth viewpoint. If possible, prepare a list of anyone you may meet with and research them as well. 

Review your resume and print a few extra copies

Although it is likely you already submitted your resume before the interview, it is good practice to bring a few copies with you. The person interviewing you may not have been given a copy and will appreciate you presenting one to them so they can review it during the interview process. 

Reread the job description you are interviewing for and make sure that your experience and accomplishments accurately reflect the skills that are required. Update your resume if needed. Be sure to proofread again before printing additional copies.

It is also a good time to review any issues on your resume that may come into question during the interview process, such as a gap in employment. Also, prepare yourself to answer questions on why you left past positions. Anticipating these questions in advance will prevent uncomfortable moments where you are trying to respond with the right answer. 

Plan your interview outfit

During the research stage of your preparation, try to determine what business attire is common in the workplace you are interviewing with. You will always want to dress professionally, but your clothing should reflect the atmosphere you are trying to enter into to show that you are a good fit for the team. If the dress is business attire or business casual, make sure that your attire is conservative and professional. 

No matter what you decide to wear, make sure it has been freshly cleaned and ironed. Pay attention to your personal grooming as well. Your hair should be trimmed and out of your face, and your nails should be clean and properly manicured.

Prepare for common interview questions using the STAR method

The STAR interview method is used by interviewees to provide a thorough answer to each question the hiring manager has so they can provide them with both the historical and behavioral information they are looking for. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. 

Here is how you can use the STAR method to answer some common interview questions:

  • Provide a detailed explanation about a situation you were in that relates to the question
  • Describe the tasks and responsibilities that you had in this situation
  • Explain the specific actions you took to resolve the situation
  • Provide the results that were achieved by the actions you performed

Write a list of questions to ask your interviewer

At the end of your interview, it is likely that the hiring manager will ask if you have any questions for them. Be sure to prepare the questions you will want to ask so that your thoughts will be more natural and to make sure that you have covered all of your points. This is a good time to ask questions about the next steps in the hiring process. You will also want to ask about the company’s training processes, the possibility of advancement and even some of the things they enjoy about the company. 

Perform a practice interview

Get some practice in before the big day. This will give you ample time to prepare some well-thought-out answers, give you some extra confidence and allow you to be intentional with nonverbal cues, such as eye contact and posture. 

You can use a list of common interview questions, as well as some you’ve created yourself that may be more specific to the position you are applying for. Jot down a few notes to help guide you on the answers, then practice with a friend or in front of a mirror. Keep practicing until you can answer the questions confidently without needing your notes.

Bring a notebook with you

Write down the questions that you will want to ask during your interview so that you can make sure they are all addressed. The notebook can also be valuable during the interview process so you can write down information that you would like to follow up with after the interview or to take notes for more questions you may want to ask at the end. When it is time to recall any details, you will have the information to reference and will make a good impression with your follow-up by being able to recall important points. 

Sell yourself to the interviewer

Once your interviewer greets you and goes over your resume, they may begin with some interview questions. When responding, take a few moments to formulate your answer. Many of the questions will start with discussing you, such as who you are and what your strengths are. Answer each question thoughtfully and completely.

You can plan your responses to the questions that provide you an opportunity to highlight your strengths, such as when you handled a difficult problem or task. You can discuss how your skills and education were able to help you solve the problem successfully. 

Always use body language that is open, inviting and welcoming, such as keeping your hands apart and turning your shoulders toward the interviewer. Finally, be sure to thank your interviewer for their time, state your excitement to hear from them and leave with a firm handshake and a smile.

Follow up with a thank you

Following up is a vital part of the interview process. By following up with the interviewer, you are showing your excitement to obtain the position as well as become a member of the company. Always start with a thank you note to each individual in the company who took time out of their day to meet with you and make sure to send it within 24 hours of your interview.

Next, you will want to consider when to contact the interviewer about the results of the interview. In some instances, the hiring manager will let you know when you can expect to hear from them or when they are ultimately making their final decision. If your interviewer does not provide a date, consider waiting for one to two weeks if you have not heard back sooner.

Interviewing for a job can be an exciting experience. Preparing yourself in advance can give you confidence that your skills, training and education make you valuable for a position you desire.