Congratulations are in order, because you’ve landed an interview for a great job! Naturally, you’re super excited – but maybe also a little nervous? Hey, that’s totally normal. And you have no reason to worry, because we’ve got the inside scoop from our team on how you can set yourself apart from your competition, wow the hiring manager and ace that interview.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Getting an interview is the first step, now it’s time to do some research. Check out the company’s website (and no, simply scanning the About Us page isn’t going to cut it). Find out who their main competitors are, what their competitive advantage is, which charitable organizations they partner with, awards they’ve won recently, the key players within their organization – you get the idea. And while you’re at it, why not learn a little bit about the industry as well? While we don’t recommend waltzing in and spouting off all the fancy new industry terms you learned the night before, there may be an opportunity for you to give yourself an edge over the other candidates by showing your interviewer you understand their industry and are interested in what they do. If that’s the case, you’ll want to be prepared.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Practice, practice, practice. Hey – don’t roll your eyes! We wouldn’t tell you to do something we didn’t believe would actually help you. The more you do something, the more comfortable you’ll be. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you’ll appear to the hiring manager. So, go on now – look up some common interview questions and practice your answers, either by yourself or with a friend or family member. Remember, you don’t need to memorize your answers word-for-word. The goal isn’t to sound rehearsed, just prepared.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
The big day is here, make sure you’ve figured out the logistics. Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we’re going to say during an interview that we don’t plan for the before and the after.
Make sure you’ve figured out how you’re going to get to there – if you’re driving, is there parking nearby? If you’re taking transit, do you know which bus you need to catch? If you’re walking, well, that’s lucky. Maybe bring an umbrella, just in case.
Give yourself extra time and expect that you could be delayed.
Do not be too early. You know how your mom always said it was rude to be late? Well, she was right. But what she didn’t tell you is that it’s also rude to be too early. Showing up 10 minutes beforehand is plenty, any more than that looks unprofessional. If you show up too early, go grab a coffee. Take a walk around the block. Trust us, you’ll thank us (and the receptionist will too!)
Once you’re in the interview room, take off your jacket! You have no idea the number of hiring managers who are driven absolutely crazy by a candidate leaving their jacket on during the interview. So just take it off, okay?
Make eye contact, give a firm handshake and be polite. You know all this, but we have to remind you – it’s kind of our job.
Be yourself! Our team said this is the number one thing to remember when going into an interview. Despite the pressure to say the right thing or try to make a certain impression, it’s essential that you are genuine, transparent and, well, yourself. This is an opportunity to let the hiring manager learn about you, and for you to learn about them! You want to know from the get-go if this company will be a good match for you. Be honest about your skill set, your values and what you’re looking for in the role.
KNOW YOUR WHY
Make sure you know why you want this job. And we mean really think about it – is it because the company’s values align with your own? Are you impressed by the initiatives they’re involved with in the community? Does the company culture seem positive and inclusive? Are you passionate about the industry and excited to learn more? Figure out why you’re there and go into the interview prepared to give examples. Oh, and don’t be afraid to say that you really want the job and why – don’t assume the hiring manager knows just because you showed up to the interview.
IT’S A TWO-WAY STREET
At the end of the interview, you’ll likely be asked if you have any questions. This is a great opportunity for you to (you’ll never guess…) ASK QUESTIONS! Come prepared with a couple of questions you have about the company and be curious to hear the answers. This will show the hiring manager that a) you’ve done your research and b) you’re genuine about your interest in their company. And – bonus! – it’s a great way to ensure that your expectations, values and professional goals are in line with those of the organization.
BONUS TIP: EASY THERE
Slow down! People tend to talk faster when they’re nervous or excited, so take a breath, collect your thoughts and be sure your answers are communicated clearly to the hiring manager.
ANOTHER BONUS TIP (JUST ‘CAUSE WE LIKE YOU): HAVE FUN WITH IT
Have fun! Yes, we said it. Sure, interviews can be nerve-wracking, even intimidating. But at the end of the day, hiring managers want to work with people who are positive and enthusiastic about the opportunity they’re offering. They’re looking for someone they feel matches their culture and work environment, and if that’s you – let them see it! Be sure you let them know you’re excited about the role and the company and that you truly appreciate them taking the time to meet with you.