Your interview is fast approaching, and your nerves are increasing by the second. Your thoughts are racing, you are restless, and you cannot sleep. Your skills and experience match the job description, and you know what this job could mean for your future.
You want to put your best foot forward, but are you too nervous to form a proper sentence?
We cannot guarantee you will land the job. However, we can help ease your nerves as you prepare for the big interview!
1. Research the Company
Many interviewers screen an applicant’s social media profiles before deciding if they want to schedule an interview. They sometimes use social media to learn about the applicant and determine if they would be a good fit.
While your potential company does not have a personal life, it has a business persona. Researching the company helps you understand its values, its work culture, and why you may be a good fit. You could conduct research through Google searches or by contacting current employees through their LinkedIn profiles.
As you research, consider why you chose to apply for this position with this company. What about their listing appealed to you? How does this position align with your skills, strengths, and previous experience?
Researching your company to find answers to these questions may help you better sell yourself during the interview process. If you cannot find answers to your questions during independent research, make a note to ask your interviewer.
2. Prepare Questions for the Interviewer
An interview is a chance for the interviewer to learn more about the applicant. However, it is also a chance for the applicant to learn more about the company from an employee’s perspective. Interviews are designed to determine your compatibility with a company and your fit for this role.
Interviewers will ask questions to help decide how you work as part of a team, under tight deadlines, and more. They will ask for past examples of specific situations to gauge how well you would work alongside their colleagues.
At some point during your interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions. This is where you can ask about the company, position, or even the interviewer’s experience with the company. Ask thoughtful questions to help you gain additional insight into the position, work culture, and opportunities for growth.
Having trouble coming up with questions to ask a potential interviewer? Here are a few examples to help you get started:
- How do you measure success for someone in this position?
- How would you differentiate previous employees who were good at this position from those who excelled at this position?
- Does this position allow employees room for professional growth?
- Is overtime expected/allowed in this position?
- What company pain points can someone in this position address as they perform daily tasks?
Feel free to also ask the interviewer about the next steps in the interview process.
3. Perform Mock Interviews
Mock interviews are an excellent opportunity to have someone provide feedback on your overall interview skills. Everything from your posture to the relevancy and conciseness of your anecdotes should be examined. Leaving a positive impression goes beyond how well you answer the questions.
It includes how you present yourself, how well you listen, and more.
Performing mock interviews may also help you gain more confidence speaking of yourself to others. During the interview process, you are your biggest and best advocate. Practice speaking of 2-3 accomplishments as they relate to the job description during your mock interviews.
If these accomplishments can be quantified with percentages or data, practice working them organically into your dialogue. Try not to create a script or memorize a specific set of answers. Interviews are meant to flow organically to create a realistic view of having you as a colleague.
Not everyone can organize and clarify their thoughts when they are put on the spot. Mock interviews allow you to prepare in a low-stress environment as they can be conducted with family or friends. Miller-Motte students and graduates may also perform mock interviews with a member of our career services team.
4. Tell Relevant Stories with STAR
It is likely you will come across a few open-ended questions during the interview process. It is easy to get side-tracked by the details of your story as it relates to the question. We recommend using the STAR method to keep your answer focused while highlighting relevant talking points.
STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. Briefly explain the situation, describe your role, what you did and why, and the outcome of the situation. The outcome should be connected to your actions to highlight your accomplishments or something you learned from this experience.
You can practice the STAR method during your mock interviews and have your interviewer provide feedback to strengthen your stories. Any details you choose to include in your stories should be true and showcase your experience and professionalism.
5. Keep Copies of Your Resume Nearby
Whether it is an in-person interview, phone interview, or video interview, you should keep copies of your resume with you. Your interviewer has already reviewed it, so avoid using it as a script during the interview. Instead, use it to highlight talking points and clarify with anecdotes when appropriate.
Miller-Motte students can visit our career services team to workshop their resume. Our team can help students revise, rewrite, and maintain their resumes and cover letters. Our staff can help you create an adjustable format which can be easily catered to specific job listings.
Reference your resume to organize your thoughts and clarify why you are the best candidate for this position. Again, interviews are meant to feel as organic as possible, so try not to read directly from your resume.
Interviews can be daunting for applicants, but they are an excellent chance to learn more about a company. They provide the applicants and company an opportunity to decide if this is an ideal fit for both parties. Applicants should conduct research on the company to understand how the company’s values align with the applicant’s goals.
Be prepared to ask your interviewer questions to help you determine if you want to proceed with this company. Remember, the company is promoting its benefits to you like you are promoting your skills and experience to it. Ask questions to gain clarity on the position and any opportunities for growth within this company.
Perform mock interviews to practice speaking about yourself to others. Use this as a chance to tell anecdotes using the STAR method to keep your stories focused. If you find yourself at a loss for words, use your resume as a reference.
We hope you found these five tips helpful when preparing for your interview.