So if you have been successful in gaining an interview you need to be able to take advantage of the opportunity and convert it to a job offer. Learning how to prepare for an interview will give you a competitive edge.
Unfortunately, most people do not put much time into interview preparation. They show up and hope for the best.
Table Of Contents
- 1. 4 Important Steps to Prepare For an Interview
- 2. How to Prepare For an Interview?
- 3. Useful Interview Questions and How to Prepare for an Interview?
4 Important Steps to Prepare For an Interview
The job market is an ever changing marketplace. Sometimes it favors the job seeker with organizations bidding for a scarcity of talent. But today it is the hiring organizations that hold the upper hand. There is an abundance of qualified individuals for most job openings.
If you come well prepared you will stand out in the hiring manger’s mind when candidates strengths and weaknesses are compared.
Focus your preparation in the following 4 areas:
Research the company and the position.
Start by visiting the organization’s website, you can learn valuable information about their priorities and current strategies. But don’t stop here, you need to further your research by researching current news items about the company.
This will sometimes uncover valuable information that will demonstrate your resourcefulness. If possible, talk with current/former employees to learn more about the organization’s culture. By researching a number of sources you get a more complete picture of the company.
Prepare your results oriented stories.
A hiring manager is trying to determine if you are the right fit for the position. The objective is not to determine if you are a nice person, but if you have the talent and experience to add value to the organization. As you prepare for the interview, you need to create results oriented success stories that you can tell during the interview. These successes will demonstrate your talents and ability to achieve results. A success story should contain three elements; 1) describe the situation, 2) describe what you did, and 3) identify the specific results achieved. You are positioning yourself as the right person for the job.
Prepare answers to common questions.
Most hiring managers wont take the time to think up creative questions to ask during an interview. They will ask the typical interview questions such as “tell about yourself”, etc.
There are many publications you can obtain that will cover the many interview questions that can be asked. The important point is that you need to be prepared to answer these types of questions in a posed and well thought out manner. Displaying confidence in your answers will help convince the hiring manager of your abilities to get the job done.
The bulk of questions you are asked will come from your resume. Review your resume and anticipate questions that may arise. For example, you may be asked to explain how you approached a specific accomplishment listed by one of your prior jobs. This is a great opportunity to relate a results oriented story you have already prepared. Many questions will come about by what’s not specifically stated on a resume, i.e. gaps in employment, lateral job changes, unrelated jobs. By preparing in advance you can answer in a way that will remove any concerns that may be lingering
Prepare Questions to Ask
This is an area that is many times overlooked by those in preparation for an interview. This is an area where you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
These are questions about the company, its products/services, its strategies, target customers and job responsibilities to name a few. They are not questions about benefits, salary, or vacation time. You ask these questions to convey insight and knowledge that others wont bother to demonstrate.
You can ask leading questions that will allow you to tell a success story that stresses the value you can bring to the organization.
By asking thought provoking questions you will have some control over the direction of the interview. I have been amazed at the high percentage of people I have interviewed who ask no questions at all.
It makes one wonder now much interest and enthusiasm they will bring to the job if hired.
If you seriously focus on these four areas in How to Prepare for an Interview you will be miles ahead of your competition. Your extra effort will be noted and could be the difference in a job offer or a rejection letter.
How to Prepare For an Interview?
It has become standard practice for any job seeker interested in how to prepare for an interview to visit the website of a potential employer. When you are looking for a job, your success is determined by your job interview techniques and how much knowledge you have about your potential employer.
This knowledge is critically important because many of us make the mistake of confusing how much we know about our profession or industry with our knowledge on that particular company.
Whilst this can be an understandable mistake, as it can be very difficult to find information on some employers, conducting some background research on the company where you want to work will help you to avoid one of the most common mistakes made in job interviews.
You should aim to learn as much as possible about the company before you meet with a potential employer. You can research aspects such as the industry in which the company operates, sales volume, finances, its main competitors and its business objectives. Understanding the history of the company and the business model are important to understand its strategy, style, and its general approach to problems and their solutions.
It is much easier these days to find out this type of information as you can use the Internet for your company research. Key the name of your potential employer into any search engine and you will usually get a wealth of information in the results.
Another part of your company research ahead of your job interview should involve searching to find out how the company has grown, including any issues or trends that there have been during its growth and development.
Potential employers will see your research as further evidence of your interest in the position, as it helps to show your initiative, motivation and ambition.
Most organizations provide information on their web sites about their missions, the company values, lists of products or services offered, financial reports, budget plans, and press releases about the company. When you browse the website of the company, you should focus on the following aspects to help you prepare for an interview:
- What does the company do? This will help you to check how your skills match the activities of the company.
- What products and services does the company offer?
- What are the plans and ambitions of the company?
- How successful is the company in its markets?
- Is the company in good financial health?
Useful Interview Questions and How to Prepare for an Interview?
Lots of possible interview questions and how to prepare for an interview scenarios are what runs through people’s minds every time they walk into a new company’s office. Depending upon the company, the questions will be different. These questions are asked not just to see if the candidate is the right person to hire for the job, but also to see what kind of person that person is.
When you think about interview questions and how to prepare for an interview be sure that you do a dry run of the interview. For instance, take time to stop and think of all of the questions that could be asked about what kind of employee you are on your current job, or were on previous jobs.
Better yet, write down as many questions as you can think of and prepare the answers before the interview. Some of the interview questions to prepare for could be:
– What tasks were you responsible for? (Remember, being “responsible” for a task isn’t the same as doing the task.)
– Did you manage any other staff members?
– Have you ever managed anyone? (If you managed kids on a sports team many of those skills could benefit you in your new job. Think about it!)
– What didn’t you like about your last job?
– What was the hardest part of your job?
Whatever interview questions make it to your list, remember all of the answers should relate to how great you are/were at that particular task and what benefit you bring/brought to your department when you did that task.
Answering interview questions is not only an opportunity to tell the interviewer how good you are. It is also a chance to brag a little about a job or task that you are really proud of.
For example: I interviewed for a job as a trainer and during the interview the manager said “You keep saying that you’re excellent at coaching and training. Why is that? Are you really that good at it?” I replied: “I say I’m excellent at it because I am excellent at it.
I’m terrible at driving directions and I get lost all the time, but when it comes to coaching and training I am excellent. Here’s the proof that backs my claims… ” And then I gave him 4 or 5 concrete examples of what I did – the tasks, the results, the problem solving, the benefits – and why what I did was considered “excellent”.
I was confident in myself and had documentation to back it up. You have to be confident that you have the genuine examples of excellence that you can share during your interview.
Documented examples are even better. That may mean practicing your answer so that you sound completely confident in the interview, even if you are nervous and anxious about really wanting that job.
A common question that makes people nervous is “What has disappointed you the most?” How you answer this question does make a difference. When answering that question, say something like “I was disappointed when I didn’t get the promotion on my other job.
But I used that experience as a chance to talk to my manager about what I needed to do to improve my skills and strengthen my chances for the next time I applied for a job.
” This type of answer shares what the disappointment was, related the disappointment to the job, and showed how the unfortunate result of the interview was used as a motivator to improve performance.
Keep one more thing in mind when practicing interview questions and trying to decide how to prepare for an interview: the way you respond to a question can be the difference between getting the job and not getting the job. Be aware that there may be questions that don’t seem to relate to the job being interviewed for. These questions give the person doing the interviewing a glimpse into what kind of employee you could possibly be.
If you have interview questions and need help with how to prepare for an interview, visit now. Sign up for a live webinar or personal one-on-one coaching session to help you get that job. Professional career coaches are standing by to teach you about common interview questions and how to prepare for an interview.