Recently having gone through multiple job interviews myself, I have some advice to my fellow peers and people who are looking to get a job. The short and most common advice is to practice. Even though that sounds so cliché, it is true and very important. But what’s more important is knowing what to practice. Do the following, ace your next interview and land your dream job. Feel free to jump around, here is the list:
- Start preparing one week before the interview
- Speak to people who were in your shoes
- Practice your answers to common interview questions
- Research the company and the role you applied for
- Show that you are a good team player and a leader (this applies for most positions)
- Be confident. Remember that they need you as much as you need them
- Ask good questions, and follow up afterwards
Start preparing one week before the interview
Preparing one week before the interview is one of the most important ones. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one week, some interviews might be scheduled 3-4 days earlier. The point here is practicing as much as possible. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be during the interview. The answers you practiced become your second nature at some point.
Important point here is not assuming you will be asked certain questions, and only preparing for them. Unfortunately, I’ve made this mistake at one of my earlier interviews and it obviously didn’t go well. I found about 10 interview questions on glassdoor.com and only prepared for them. I was asked some of those questions which I answered well, however there were some questions that I wasn’t expecting and they caught me off guard. I answered them to the best of my ability but I didn’t feel comfortable answering those questions and I got stuck sometimes. So while preparing for your interview, you should be open minded and be ready for any potential questions.
Speak to people who were in your shoes
Before you start getting ready for the interview, you should reach out to someone who was interviewed for the same position by the same company. This person might be someone you know or someone who you’ve never met before. If that’s the case, go on LinkedIn and cold message a bunch of people who work for the same company. Most likely they would love to help you and share their experiences with you.
This one helped me a lot with my interview. Luckily, I had a friend who worked at the same company that I was going to interview for. His position at the company was the same as well. It was a blessing hearing from someone who had the same experience I was about to have. He walked me through the whole process, shared some insights and gave me some advice. It for sure played a big part in why I passed my interview.
Practice your answers to common interview questions
We all know what the common interview questions are: Tell me about yourself, why are you a good fit, what are your strengths etc. Be comfortable answering those questions. Prepare good answers and practice them well.
Research the company and know the role you are applying for
You might not get asked about the company you applied for, nobody asked me during this recruiting season, but it’s still important to know the company just in case you get asked about it. It will show your interest in the firm and the position, and also show that you’ve done your homework.
Even if the interviewer doesn’t ask you about the role or the firm, you can still squeeze that part somewhere in your other answers. For example, when explaining your leadership skills, you can speak about the role and how your skills match the requirements.
Show that you are a good team player and a leader
No matter what job you do, you will work with some sort of team. It might be a team of 10 or a team of 2 people, but there will be a team. Employers will want to hire someone who can work in a team, rightfully so. But telling them you are a good team player and a leader is not enough. You should give them an example from your past, either group projects that you did at school, team sports you participated in or your previous internship/work experience.
Personally, I gave examples from middle school when I was playing basketball, from college where we had multiple group projects and me choosing to be the team leader, and from my previous internship experiences. I gave both positive and negative examples in terms of the mistakes I’ve made as a leader, how I overcame a challenge, criticism I received from my team members etc. I shared examples for each one of them. I was completely honest and at the same time I showed that I’ve learnt my lessons from the bad examples I shared.
Let’s not forget the importance of communication here. You have to need to make the interviewer feel like it would be a joy to work with you. That’s part of being a team player. If you spread negative energy all the time, it would be really hard to work with you. So keep in mind that showing that you are a likable person and a good communicator is as much important as your great experiences and your stories.
I strongly believe that this depends on the preparation you did prior to the interview. The more you practice, the more you will be confident in yourself. Other than your answers, you also should look confident. Sit up straight, maintain a good eye contact and speak distinctly. Don’t try to rush your answers, believe in them and know that the interviewer is interested in what you have to say.
Also, keep in mind that as much as you want to work for the company, they need you as well. Don’t ever think that they are doing you a favor. You are an asset to them and they need assets. Don’t take it to another level and be cocky, but it’s important to know your worth.
Ask good questions, and follow-up afterwards
Sounds like another cliché, I know. But it can determine the fate of your interview, especially asking good and smart questions. Please do not ask a question just to ask them. Be honest and show your interest in the role and the company. Some of the questions you might want to ask are:
- How does mentorship work at (the company)?
- How open is upper management to the ideas of newcomers?
- Where does the company stand when it comes to innovation and automation?
- What were the challenges you had when you first started, and what did you do to overcome those challenges?
These questions are just some examples, the mostly the ones that I personally asked during my interview. Asking smart questions and showing your interest in the role will make the interviewer respect you and want to work with you.
Following up afterwards is just a small detail you should do to let them know that you were excited to speak to them and enjoyed hearing about their experiences and learning more about the company culture. Finally, try to set yourself apart from other candidates by reminding an interesting example you shared, or stating what you will bring to this opportunity once again and don’t forget to thank them.
These are all the tips and tricks I used for my interview, and thankfully they got me a full time offer. I’m hoping these tips help you land your dream job as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for any questions. Best of luck!