Preparing for an interview is the arguably the most important step of the job search process. The interview is the first chance you get to meet your potential employer and it is important to leave a positive first impression. Here’s how to prepare for an interview to ensure minimal anxiety.
Research the company.
(And the interviewer.) With the wealth of information available on the internet, there is no excuse for appearing at an interview without research. Thoroughly examine the company web site, paying special attention to the news/press release section to look for current company developments. Be prepared to discuss any company initiatives you may find there and keep an eye out for opportunities to match your skills to their plans.
Leverage social media.
Find the company and the interviewer on LinkedIn. Like the company Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. Set up Google alerts to be will be notified of updates (do the same at all your target companies, even if you don’t have an interview pending). Look for connections in your network that may be able to provide you with inside information.
Prepare for common questions.
Some questions are asked at nearly every interview. Take the time to prepare polished answers so that you will appear confident. Such questions include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should we hire you over other candidates?
These questions are just too common to stammer on. Do more than list skills and qualifications. Prepare stories from your work history to illustrate your points.
Don’t be passive.
Come with talking points to get across that demonstrate your suitability for the position and reiterate them during the interview. Take the time to look through the job posting and connect your experience to company needs. If your field lends itself to it, create a portfolio so that you can show concrete examples of your work, or prepare a proposal based on your company research.
If you don’t have it – ask.
When the company calls to set up the interview, this is your chance to learn much more than the time and date of your appointment. Find out who you are interviewing with – names and titles. Will you be meeting with someone from HR or your direct supervisor? Request a copy of the job description if the posting isn’t thorough enough.
Lastly, prep the basic housekeeping details.
Be sure that your interview suit is clean and pressed, your shoes polished. Print out directions or load up your GPS. Consider a trial drive to the interview site to see how long the drive will take and anticipate any glitches. Print out several good copies of your resume and have references ready should they be requested. Finally, get to bed early. You’ve got a big day ahead of you.
To learn more about preparing for interviews check the RealStreet Staffing blog regularly. If you’re looking for a position in the engineering and construction industries take a look at our available jobs or contact a recruiter today.