Feel confident about your next interview.
By Hallie Crawford, Contributor
Preparing for an interview? Congratulations! Your job search efforts have paid off. However, now you have to impress the hiring manager and human resources professionals in person. The desire to leave a good impression and say all the right things can leave even the most experienced professionals feeling anxious. It’s essential to have a job interview strategy in place so that no matter what the interviewing process, you know the steps you need to take in order to be prepared and confident.
The first step in an effective job interview strategy is to prepare what you will say. When preparing for an interview, it’s important to ask yourself why the employer should careabout what you have to say. To effectively answer that question, you must research your potential employer in advance. Look them up online and identify things such as:
- Their branding statement
- Their values and goals
- How they contribute to their industry
- The projects they are currently working on
- If/how they are giving back to the community
- Any recent press releases or references to them in the news
Take time to find out about the hiring manager as well. Find them on LinkedIn to learn more about them and their background to find some common ground to discuss and break the ice during the interview. Then identify in advance, and mention during the interview, things that have impressed you about them and the company. This demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about the company and interested in what they do.
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Once you know more about the company and the hiring manager, that will help you prepare your anecdotes and answers to general interview questions as well. To do this, identify keywords in their job posting and any company values that you discovered in your research. Then, determine how you can incorporate those keywords and values into your responses. Do you have any stories that demonstrate how you possess the skills and values that the company is looking for? Don’t lie if you don’t have certain skills, but do give yourself credit for where you excel, and work hard to promote yourself to the hiring manager. Don’t assume they will be able to connect the dots; do it for them!
The next step in your job interview strategy is to prepare questions to ask the hiring manager. Remember that you want to make sure that the job will be a good fit for you. When preparing your questions, make sure they are well thought out and specific. For example, ask questions such as:
- Why is this position available?
- What type of person best succeeds in this role?
- What are the expectations for this position in the first month and first three months?
- What are the company’s goals for this position in the first year?
- How would I be evaluated on my performance?
Other topics you may want to ask about could include office culture, travel, mentoring programs or scheduling flexibility. Keep in mind that in the first interview it is best not to bring up salary or vacation time unless it’s absolutely necessary or if they bring it up. That is too soon to do so and can give a negative impression.
Finally, prepare what you will say if you want the job. If you think the position would be a good fit for you, don’t be afraid to let them know! If you are excited about the job, let it show in your facial expressions and body language. Avoid becoming overexcited, but don’t be afraid to show your emotions. You might say something like, “This position seems like it would be a great fit for me. I feel that I can make a strong contribution here.”
It’s also important to ask the hiring manager if they have any hesitations about moving you to the next level of the job interview process. This is an important question that many professionals overlook. Give them the opportunity to address any doubts or anything that they feel you may not be qualified for. You may not get this chance again, so take advantage of it while you are in the interview.
On the day of the interview itself, plan on arriving 15 to 20 minutes early to check in, get organized and feel more settled before the interview starts. Try and be as natural as possible in the interview. Take your time to answer questions, feel free to take notes and ask for clarification if something isn’t clear. Finally, always thank the hiring manager for their time at the end of an interview and ask them what the next steps are.
A version of this article appears in https://money.usnews.com/