Everyone wants to know the perfect way to nail that dream job interview. I’m pretty intimidated by interviews and I know from experience they can vary in difficulty, depending on the company.Sometimes we’re happy just landing ANY job, and that adds extra stress. I’ve developed 8 easy steps to impress future bosses and land those awesome jobs.
1. Job Interview Preparation
Do your research. Every employer wants your interview to be the last one. Your future boss just wants to make sure that you know how to do your job and to make sure you are a great person to work with. It’s really that basic. So it’s your job to figure out what will be expected of you when you get the job. To do that, you need to be like Sherlock Holmes and do that research.
The first thing I did before my interview at myWebRoom was look at their website to see what they did and what made them special. The worst thing you can do is walk into an interview without understanding what the company does. What are they selling? What makes their product special? They’re more likely to hire the person who requires less training. Learning what the company is like and how it’s structured will do that.
When I first applied for the myWebRoom marketing team, my research told me that I would either be interviewed by the co-founders (Artem or John) or the head of marketing (Daria). How did I know this? I looked at their website. Specifically, the “about us” page. It made me feel a little better to know what kind of people I would be working with.
If the company you’re looking at has a blog then READ IT. Most company blogs talk about their business methods and people. myWebRoom has a section on our blog devoted to stuff about us and our office. That helped me to get to know the culture. Having that knowledge made me more comfortable. If questions come up while you’re researching, well, write them down. You’ll need these later.
2. Bring The Proper Materials
Once my research was done I had a good idea what I’d have to do for the team. Next, I had to get ready. That involved bringing the right stuff. The interviewers might not even ask for some of these things, having proof of your skills makes you look like you know what you’re talking about.
When I interview people, I don’t always have their resume in-hand. The people who bring a resume to the interview are helping me do my job – and that’s exactly what I’m hiring them to do! Even when I have a person’s resume handy, it’s nice to know I could have relied upon them if I’d forgotten it or, worse yet, if I’d grabbed the wrong resume.
3. Be Early (Read: DON’T BE LATE)
Seriously. Just plan ahead and show up 10-15 minutes early. It’s better to be early than to be late. Don’t, don’t, don’t be late. Ever.
4. How to Act
Act like you want to be there. I get really, really nervous for interviews. Who doesn’t? But guess what? I also get nervous when I’m the one giving the interview. All I want is for the next person to WOW me. Why? Well, because then I’d be done interviewing.
Help the interviewer along. This could be where you work soon. Look and sound right for the job and your interviewer will know that you are right for that job. Look at this guy, he’s displaying all the right physical traits for an interview. Let me break it down for you.
First off, there are a lot of physical cues you should avoid. Don’t hunch, don’t cross your arms (that’s where having your resume or portfolio comes in HANDy), and don’t look stand-offish. People want to know that you can take direction without feeling defensive. Some postures seem more defiant than others. The folks over at CarreerBliss put together a very good infographic to illustrate this
5. How To Answer Questions
I’ve heard all sorts of people talk about the crazy questions they get (or give!) during interviews. There’s no way to anticipate them all, so I’m not going to target a ton of specific questions. For that, The Muse has gone over a lot of the most common questions and how to answer them in fantastic ways that you should go check out. There’s also this handy infographic from WiseCareers:
These are very specific examples, but here’s my general protip: give answers that drive them to ask questions you know the answer to. That may sound weird, but if you give answers that hint at stuff you’re knowledgeable about (relating to the job, of course) then you’ll help them know how to interview you. See? You’re already helping them do their job. That’s what they want, remember?
If your interviewers asks you to tell them about yourself, toss in some things relating to the job. If you enjoy the industry you’re applying for then say why. Talk about your favorite aspects and duties of the position you’re applying for. Talk about your work process – but include a comment on how you’re open to altering that. They want to know how you interact with the world around you. They are, after all, a part of that world.
I don’t like to give one-word answers, and neither should you. If you answer “yes” or “no” to something, explain why. Am I comfortable studying analytics? “Yes. Understanding that stuff makes my job so much easier, but I need a cup of tea when doing it because looking at all those numbers makes me super sleepy.” That answer showed knowledge of the position and gave me some personality.
Don’t be afraid to ask for details when you don’t know how to respond. I was once asked how I would respond to angry customers when I was interviewing for a cafe job. I responded that I always remain calm, try to find out what went wrong, and determine what I can do to make them happy. I also added, “What is your policy on giving out free drinks or free drink cards to help alleviate the situation?” I didn’t know the answer, but by asking I proved I knew how to problem-solve.
Remember, even if not knowing the full answer looks bad, asking questions about part of the answer will help you learn. Even if you don’t land THAT position, you’re better informed for your next interview. I know it’s nerve-wracking to not know, but don’t sweat it too much.
As long as you prove that you’re not an overconfident jerk who will make silly decisions when you don’t know something, you’re already making a good impression. You may just win them over on how you find out information to solve your problems.
6. Ask Questions!
There’s only so much you can learn from a company’s website and/or blog. Ask how your or your department interacts with others. I like to ask what projects or issues they’re dealing with at that point that I can start to think about. The position you’re going for is open because they need work done. Find out what you should be ready for if you start work soon. It’s not easy to come up with questions on the spot, so The Painful Hunt helped out with a starter kit – in the form of this infographic.
I like it when people ask about our company culture or what the on-boarding (or training) process is like. Even if I’m not hiring them, it lets me know they know how to think ahead. Those answers can give rise to all sorts of discovery for both parties.
7. Say “Thank You”
I had a guy give a shaky interview where he did everything right but didn’t seem excited to be there at all. He didn’t thank me for my time (interviewing is tough!) or for the opportunity. Nothing sealed his fate like not saying “thank you.” Even Obama knows…always thank them for their time.
8. TREAT YOURSELF
Interviews are draining. Even when I know all about the job I still get a little stressed becasue it’s not easy to sit in one place and be judged. Take some time, even if it’s 10 minutes, after the interview to rest and let yourself calm down. Once I stop telling my body to be ready for the unexpected, I’m able to relax and return to my normal state of mind. I personally like to do this over a bite to eat. Since we’re trying to keep healthy here at myWebRoom, I’ll suggest you stick with our 3-step method for eating right to keep your body in tip-top shape.
I hope this takes the veil of mystery away from the interview process. Remember, both of you want you to be the one to get the job. It’s up to you to help your interviewers see that you can help them get things done the best.
Did I leave anything out? I’m always looking for other ways to approach interviews, so feel free to comment below.