A great resume will get you noticed, but a great interview will land you a job. Regardless of how impressive your resume is, you won’t be able to secure the job of your dreams without a successful interview. If you think this sounds stressful, you’re not alone. According to data released in the 2013 Job Interview Anxiety Survey, 92% of employed Americans get stressed out about job interviews.
It seems intimidating, but as long as you prepare, you’ll be fine. Here are four ways to prepare for your interview:
Research the company.
The worst thing you could do is come into an interview unprepared and without having researched the company. Do research on what the short and long term goals are, what the mission statement is, and if the company has come up in the media at all with any big news. You want to show the interviewer that you’ve put work into the interview and that you’re interested in the company. It would be detrimental to your application if the company recently made a big public announcement and you had no idea about it. A situation like this would make you seem careless and unaware of pertinent information.
The whole point of doing your research is to show your interviewer that you know what direction the company is going and that you want to be a part of it. You want to show them that you will be beneficial if you are hired.
Find something that you think the company could improve upon.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but it shows a lot of motivation and expertise if you can find an area which you think the company can improve upon. Again, you want to show them that you’ll be beneficial to hire, so providing a perspective which they haven’t thought of will strengthen your case and highlight how you’ll be an asset.
This is a great opportunity for you to bring in past experience. For example, you could say something along the lines of the following.
“I’ve done a lot of work on [topic] with [company] and I noticed that your [area or project] could be improved by [way to improve it]. Have you thought about utilizing [ways to improve it]?”
Discuss how you could improve a weakness or how you could be a solution to their problem.
This directly stems from the step above, but you should always talk about what you would do and how you would improve the company if you were to get hired. Showing them how you would solve a problem or how you would improve a weak point gives the company (and interviewer) direct insight as to how you could help them.
A wise marketing professor at UC Santa Cruz once told me that the key to landing a job or a client is to show them that you are the solution to their problem, and it’s something that’s always held true. If you can show a company and interviewer that you are the solution, they will almost always hire you!
Remember to be yourself.
While it’s important to do the legwork and make sure you know all of your talking points, it’s equally important to calm down, be yourself, and act natural. Remember that no matter how great a job seems, you want to work for a company where you mesh well with the other employees and company culture. Even if you love your job, if you don’t love your peers and fellow employees, the experience can go sour very quickly. The interview is where both you and your interviewer will get a better idea about whether you’ll fit in and be happy, so don’t try to hide who you really are. Maintain a professional and sociable demeanor, however if you’re someone that generally likes to be around people, don’t act as though you will be happy working in a closed off office away from any human interaction, or vice versa.
Job interviews can be hard and create anxiety in a lot of people, but if you follow these four ways to prepare for your interview, you’ll go in with your best foot forward. At the end of the day, all you can do is put in the work, prepare, and be yourself.