Part I: Job Interview Preparation
If you think most hiring decisions are based on hard experience and qualifications, we have a series of journal entries to help you prepar. A resume gets you in the door, but how you interview determines whether you’re offered the job.
This series will cover two types of job interview tips to help you pass a job interview and get the job you want:
- Interview Preparation– steps you should take before your interview.
- Job Interview Tips– the best strategies to use during the actual interview.
After you finish this series you’ll know how to present yourself better than the competition and pass a job interview a majority of the time.
Part I: Job Interview Preparation
Each step below will prepare you for the actual interview. None of this is very time consuming but it will set you apart from everyone else applying for the job, making it easy for the company to decide who to hire (you!)
Here are the basic interview preparation steps to remember. we’ve put the estimated time next to each one.
Research the company (5 minutes)
Know what they do, know how they make money. You’re not expected to be an expert, but knowing nothing about the company makes it look like you don’t care. Talent doesn’t matter at this point, you will not get hired if they think you don’t care.
All of this research can be done on a company’s website and on Google.
To learn the latest on a company, try typing the company’s name plus the word “news” into your search bar.
Think of two reasons you’re interested in the company (10 minutes)
Use the company research you’ve done to come up with a business-related reason you’re excited about them. It could be a new business model, new clients, new partnership, etc.
Actual example: I recently had a phone interview with a tech company that was built as a review/info website. They recently started handling transactions instead of sending the buyers out to other websites to complete the transaction. I read this in the news and mentioned it as an exciting development and a really good business move. The interviewer was extremely impressed that I had read the news, and understood the implications. Total time spent researching: less than 3 minutes.
Along with one business reason, try to come up with a secondary reason too. Maybe community involvement. Or company culture. Almost every company has a blurb about their culture on the website. Read it and mention what you read as a secondary reason for being interested.
You’ll seem extremely well-prepared and well-rounded for having two very different reasons.
Think of an explanation for why you’re job searching (5 minutes)
Companies will often choose someone less talented if they also seem less risky or if their motivations make more sense. I’ve seen it first-hand.
Don’t lose out on a job to somebody with less skill than you. Prepare some legitimate reasons why you want to make a move (without talking negative about your current employer). Here are some examples:
- You’ve accomplished ____ in your current role and you’re ready for a new challenge
- Your company’s direction has shifted and you feel it’s time to join a new organization
- You’re interested in a different type of product/service
- You’re looking for a larger or smaller organization
You can get more specific based on your situation. These are general ideas. If you do a good job with this you can beat out applicants that have more experience than yourself, because they’re not using these strategies most likely.
Get familiar with your resume (5 minutes)
This is one of the more important interview preparation tips, and one of the easiest. Glance over your resume if you haven’t in a while. Be ready to explain past job changes in a positive light. If you left a job because your manager was horrible, say that you went to an organization that had more supportive management. It’s all about how you phrase it. More examples on how to deliver this in Part II.
Also think of a couple of challenges and accomplishments in your last 1-2 positions. Interviewers love specific examples of accomplishments.
That’s it, you’re done with Part I. At this point you’ve already done more than 80% of job applicants, and you have good answers prepared for some of the most common interview questions.
Check back with us for part two of this series, Job Interview Tips!