Whether you are a total networking guru with confidence beaming off every inch of your glossy-finish resume, or a networking newbie who tripped over your new pant suit and spilled coffee on your crotch minutes before, a job interview is always intimidating. Maybe you are a freshman looking to land your first summer internship or a senior haunted by the fact that graduation is only three months away. Either way, a job interview is your one shot to show an employer who you are beyond your resume. It is the time to show them you aren’t simply seeking any job, you are seeking a job with this company. Therefore, research is key! Here are some tips on how to successfully prepare for a job interview. Whether it be for a large corporation or a small start-up, you need to be prepared.
1. Google Alerts
Google Alerts sends notifications to your phone or in separate emails anytime a keyword (of your choice) is mentioned in the news. As soon as your interview gets scheduled, set up Google Alerts on your phone to give you updates on the company’s news. It might be their website directly or a media outlet associated with your industry (i.e, Wall Street Journal or AdAge) that will be most beneficial to you.
2. Research the Press
What has been said about this company in the last few months? Are they going through a transition? Are they hiring a new executive? Many websites will have a “press” section. It is important to remember that a job interview is not just about the role you are applying for, it is about the company as a whole.
3. Social Media
Follow the brand/company on social media platforms to see what they are talking about in the few days leading up to your interview. If possible, also follow the CEO, COO or head of the division you are interviewing for on Twitter or Instagram.
4. Dress Code
Ahh, what to wear, what to wear—the dreaded question that could have you throwing your brief case against the mirror the night before and crying into your blouses. The key? Know your space. There are many industries where wearing a traditional suit and tie is a must. However, if you are interviewing for a company that dresses business casual, wear something that is both respectful but also shows them you could fit in there.
5. Who is interviewing you?
Knowing their job title and their name isn’t enough. Do a general Google and LinkedIn search to take notes on anything that could help you in the interview. It is always helpful to know if you have some sort of connection to them (same hometown, same past employer, same favorite sports team, etc). If you aren’t given the names of who will be interviewing you, reach out to someone in HR and ask if they can provide you with the names. It is not pushy—it just shows your interest even more!
6. Know the 30-60-90 Plan
What are the company’s goals? What is their mission statement? Why is the role you are applying for needed at the company? These are questions you will consider when you make your 30-60-90 plan, or a plan that maps out what you plan to do in your first three months at the company. It is important to think of yourself as not just another hire, but an asset to the company as a whole.
7. Glassdoor, Glassdoor, Glassdoor!
Glassdoor.com is a gift from the Gods. Search your company to find things like: What have past employees been asked in their interviews? What salary would you earn? What is the company culture like? This will give you a glimpse into what working there would actually be like.
8. Come prepared with questions
You know the time will come when things start to wrap up (your sweat is starting to subside) and you will be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” YES. Even if you don’t have a question, ask a question. This is another way of the employer testing you to see how engaged you are in the company/the role you are striving for. Here are a few go-tos:
- What will the company look like in five years?
- What is your favorite thing about working here?
- What does your onboarding process look like?
- How is success measured in this role?
9. What Sets You Apart?
A job interview is like an audition in many ways. Maybe you aren’t sitting in the hallway with 40 other people who look identical to you, but you may be one impressive resume among a hundred. Make sure that you don’t leave without setting yourself apart. You want them to remember you. Don’t pull a Jennifer Lawrence tripping down the Oscar staircase or a Tom Cruise dancing on top of your interviewer’s desk, but make sure you connect with them on a personal level or tell them about the unique thing you have been involved in on campus. When you write your thank you letter later, you will want something to reference that jogs their memory of you.
10. Know Your Place Before Leaving
Leaving is just as important as your grand entrance. If you feel that there is something left unsaid, you may go as far as to ask them, “Is there anything else I can provide you with?” or “Do you have any reservations about my ability to take on this role?” When leaving, make sure to thank them for their time and scurry home to write your thank you letter!
Good luck! If you first one is a flop, the good news is there is always another job interview.
COVER GRAPHIC: Vicky Novak
Have any tips of your own? Comment below!