Job interviews are a massive topic to cover, and there have been many books written on the subject. While many of these books are worth your time, it’s also helpful to focus on some basic principles ahead of any job interview.
Below is a basic interview primer that is useful for anyone, from someone about to walk into their first interview, to the experienced professional who has sat down for countless interviews.
Research is Key
The first thing you should do after being contacted for an interview is to research the job as much as possible. Your research should include studying the job itself, the company, and the industry as a whole.
Start by studying the job description. Take note of any unique qualifications you have that fit the description. Look for ways the job may be different than similar positions at other companies.
Perform a Google News search on the company itself. Take note of any recent developments, including recent awards, patents, and partnership announcements. Look for specific developments that speak to the job opening or your particular set of skills. Look up reviews of the company on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and other similar employment sites.
Your research on the industry should include your potential employer’s competitors. Try to get a sense of where this company fits into the industry writ large.
Reach Out to Your Network
If you know somebody who is already employed at the company you’re applying to or who has a connection to the company, talking to your connection will allow you to get valuable inside information, which may be an advantage over other candidates. In addition to scrolling through your contacts list, check LinkedIn for any relevant contacts in the business. Your alma maters likely have an alumni network you can tap into.
When talking to connections, ask what they’ve heard about the working environment for the job, the overall company culture, and the interview process. Learn as much as you can about both the business and the position. These conversations can help you sound like an insider and give you a unique insight into the job.
Practice Like There’s No Tomorrow
If there’s one takeaway from the recent documentary The Last Dance, which covers the championship-winning Chicago Bulls, it’s that relentless practice leads to success.
Put together responses to interview questions you expect to get. This exercise will help you evaluate your qualifications from a unique angle and help you frame good responses for practice interviews with a trusted friend or family member. Don’t commit to specific answers – just key points you want to make.
The more prepared you are for practice interviews, the better your practice will be, and the more confident you will be walking into the interview.
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