You’ve landed the interview! Now what? Time to prepare! Whether you are pursuing the opportunity on your own or working with a recruiter who can help support you through the process, it is critical that you make the time and effort to prepare for your first point of contact. There are a lot of unknowns going into an interview, and it can cause a lot of apprehension. Why not make it easier and take some of the pressure off by thoroughly and carefully preparing? Let’s look at the different types of interviews and how to prepare for each.
Phone interviews can feel like more of a brief introduction, but should not be taken lightly. This is your opportunity to make a positive initial impression and get to the next step of the candidate process. Below are some helpful tips on how to successfully approach a phone interview.
- Check your device. If using a mobile device to conduct the call, make sure the phone is fully charged and test the microphone to make sure you can be heard clearly.
- Find a quiet area to take the call. Make sure there are no distractions and avoid areas where there may be background noise that may interrupt the call or cause disturbances.
- DO NOT conduct the call while driving. Your focus should be on the call and not interrupted by traffic or diversions on the road.
Virtual interviews provide a closer look into the candidate than over the phone. It is important to prepare and plan on how to approach this type of meeting, as it is becoming the norm with many companies. Below are some helpful tips on how to successfully approach a virtual meeting.
- Check and test your technology. Make sure that your internet connection, microphone and camera are working well at least 30 minutes before the start time. There is nothing worse than having an interruption at the beginning of the interview because of a technology mishap. Also, make sure the device you are using is fully charged.
- Create a professional background for yourself. Make sure the area around you that the interviewer will see is free of clutter. Also, make sure you are at eye-level to your device and that you are seated at a desk or table, not on a sofa or an easy chair.
- Eliminate noises and distractions from the surrounding area that may interrupt your discussion.
- Dress professionally for this meeting as you would if you were attending in person. Make sure you are well groomed. The interviewer wants to see how you present yourself.
An in-person interview is your time to demonstrate to the potential employer how you present yourself, how you communicate and interact with others in person, and how well you’ve prepared for this opportunity. Below are some helpful tips on how to successfully approach an in-person interview.
- Plan out the drive to the site in advance. If you are local to the company, you may want to make the drive in advance so that you know where you are going. If you are traveling from out of town, make sure you get an understanding of the route in advance.
- Be early! Make sure you arrive at least 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule. Plan on leaving earlier than you normally would in case you run into traffic or car trouble.
- Dress professionally and make sure you are well groomed. The interviewer wants to see how you carry yourself in a business setting.
General Interview Tips:
Add these tips to your preparation for whichever interview format you are preparing for.
- Do your homework and research the company website. Also, look beyond the website and review any additional information you can find on the internet. Work your network and connect with those who know the company.
- Study and rehearse your resume in advance to make sure you are prepared to speak to the experience listed on your resume. Your resume is fair game to the interviewer. If you cannot speak to what’s written on your resume, the they may take it as a sign of not actually having the experience you list. Always have a copy of your resume printed and next to you to refer to during the meeting.
- Develop some general, specific, industry related, and technical questions to ask during the interview. We suggest preparing the following general questions:
- “In your opinion, what do you think it will take to be successful in this position and with your company?”
- “What are the primary objectives you are looking for this person to achieve in the first 30/60/90/180 days?” You can use this as an opportunity to sell your background around the key things they are looking for.
- Prepare for how you would answer some commonly asked questions such as:
- Tell me something about yourself?
- Why are you interested in this role?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- What makes you the best fit for this role?
- Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
- Have a planner/notebook/organizer prepared to have next to you. Use this to take notes during your discussion. Also, use it to list the questions you have prepared so you remember to ask them.
Don’t take the interview for granted or treat it as a formality. This is your opportunity to shine, succeed, and make a strong impression while making the situation less stressful. Good luck!
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