Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced professional making a change, interviewing for a new job can be daunting. As a recent graduate, I have learned that being properly prepared helps relieve a lot of the stress that accompanies the interview process. Here are a few tips you may find helpful when preparing for your next interview:
- Do your research. It’s important to research the company for which you will be interviewing. Becoming familiar with the company’s mission, culture, services, and current news will make it much easier for you to have natural dialogue with the interviewer. It will also show that you did more than take a quick look at the company’s website.
- Ask questions. Researching the company will likely spark even more questions. I have discovered that preparing a list of thoughtful questions ahead of time is very effective. It shows that you’ve done your homework and that you are genuinely interested in the company and contributing to its mission.
- Practice. Most interviewers are going to question you on a variety of topics, including why you have applied to the position and what makes you a viable candidate. These questions seem very basic; however, giving them thought beforehand is very important to ensure a strong and concise delivery. Prior to an interview, outline what you are going to say and practice your responses aloud. Check out our recruiting manager Kristin Seeger’s article, “Use the STAR Technique for Standout Answers to Interview Questions” for effective methods to use when responding to interview questions.
- Know your resume inside out. Often times the interviewer will begin by asking you to tell him/her about yourself. This is the perfect time to provide an overview of your resume, skills, and experience and explain how they make you an excellent candidate for the position.
- Reflect on why you will be a good fit for the position, and why the position/company will be a good fit for you. Make sure to give examples as to why you are an excellent fit and how you will make a positive contribution to the company. And keep in mind that although it may not feel like it in the moment, the interview process is a two way street – it’s important for you to be a good fit for the company, but it’s just as important that the company is a good fit for you.
- Bring notes & take notes. While you definitely do not want to read from your notebook during your interview, it doesn’t hurt to have a notebook open. This might make you feel more comfortable. If you start feeling nervous, you can glance at your notes to remind you of a topic or question you had prepared to discuss. It’s also a good idea to take notes and to capture a few key points that will be helpful to remember when you land that second interview!
- RELAX! The person interviewing you wants to see that your personality is a good fit for the company, and that the company culture is a good fit for you. It’s important to push your nerves aside and be yourself. If a question catches you off guard or you don’t have a perfect response, continue to move forward with the discussion, and don’t get hung up something you think you said incorrectly. You don’t want to overthink it.
- Some final quick tips. These should hopefully need no explanation, but they are definitely worth mentioning. Dress appropriately. Turn off your cell phone during the interview. Make direct eye contact. Offer a solid handshake. Smile! And be sure to send a thank you email to the interviewer afterwards.
If you’re prepared and have done your best, you should be proud of yourself despite the outcome. In the end, hard work always pays off and you will find an opportunity that is right for you!
Molly Klein joined Kreischer Miller as marketing coordinator in August 2017. She graduated from Loyola University Maryland in May 2017 with a bachelor's degree in marketing. In her free time, Molly enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and hiking. Contact Molly at Email.
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