It’s that time. Your palms are sweaty, nerves are going in a frenzy, you set five alarm clocks to get remind yourself that you need to wake up for the next set of alarm clocks so that you won’t be late. What’s gotten into you that you’re so careful not to be late?! Why.. It’s interview time!
I’ve been through 200+ interviews in my four years in college and I’ve been able to pick up a few tips along the way. Here are the most important tips that can help you land the next job.
The Pre-Interview Questions
Tip 1: Ask Questions BEFORE the interview
That’s right. Not only is it appropriate to ask questions at the end of the interview, but you should ask questions before the big day.
There are two questions that you definitely need to have answers to before the interview. The first question being how to get to the office.
A lot of offices are hidden and could require extra effort to find the place. In the past, I had one interview at 9am and left at 8am (30 minute drive away) but still barely made it 10 minutes ahead of schedule because their headquarters were so huge and it was a jungle trying to find my way to the destined land.
The second question is asking who your interviewers will be. A simple email to Human Resources inquiring about the names of the interviewers so that you can
stalk better prepare yourself for the interview is a completely appropriate step that not everyone is aware they should take. Some of the research includes LinkedIn (to give yourself a better idea of a potential job-related question at the end of the interview), company website, or asking in your network. You also get to know how many resumes you should bring (overshooting is best in this part, however)!
The pre-interview questions are out of the way, now it’s time for the preparation stage.
The Pre-Interview Preparation
Tip 2: ALWAYS have an answer to these two questions
Interviewers will ask them, WITHOUT FAIL.
1. Tell me about yourself or walk me through your resume
2. Do you have any questions for us?
For 1. the company does not want to know about the latest “I can haz cheezburger?” cat meme that everyone is talking about that you’ve brilliantly created (unless the job directly relates to that)! The company wants to know about the experiences that you’ve highlighted in your resume in relation to the job.
They are testing to see if you are able to communicate effectively, understand the job functions and/or responsibilities, and if you are enthusiastic! It is best to run it through by yourself with a recorder 2 or 3 times so you can hear what you sound like and it doesn’t feel out of the ordinary talking about yourself.
For 2. Have 3 – 5 questions that show either 1. research on the company 2. research on the position 3. interest in the interviewer that directly intersects with your desire to know. I’ve began to notice that if I ask questions for the sole purpose of looking like I did research, my tone of voice became different, my body language seemed robotic, and the way that I communicated did not flow in a logical fashion.
Some of the classic questions I asked:
1. Does this company offer any advancement opportunities? (Very important to me because I didn’t want to say yes to a job that I knew couldn’t evolve)
2. What type of training program do you offer? (I’ve become convinced, giving credit to Rita Mcgrath’s book The End of Competitive Advantage that the best companies are the ones who have extensive training programs that allow employees to cope with change)
3. Why did you choose this company? (I truly want to get their perspective on what they thought the benefits of working for the company were before they accepted the job)
And the list could go on a little bit more but those are the questions that I used most of the time that I interviewed.
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