Landing a job interview–especially when it’s with your dream job–can carry a lot of emotions. It’s exciting, intimidating, and full of incredible potential.
Whether you’re confident when meeting new people, or you feel incredibly anxious at the thought, The Best Job Interview Preparation Guide will help you to prepare for a job interview, what to do during the interview (including what questions to ask), how to follow up, and how to negotiate a job offer in today’s job market.
Research the Company and the Interviewer
You’ve completed your resume, written your cover letter, networked with the right people, done the research, and now you’ve landed yourself a job interview. It’s time for the tricky part: How do you convert that interview into a job?
Since you’ve already landed the job interview, it’s likely that you’ve already spent time researching the hiring organization. Let’s take an even deeper dive into the company.
In the pre-interview phase, spending time researching the company, as well as the people/person who is going to interview you will pay off in more ways you can imagine. The more information you have about the hiring organization and the roles that your interviewer(s) play in the company, the more you will be able to impress the interviewer.
You want to understand the company’s history and backgrounds, as well as its values and mission. Learn the language that the company uses, and plan to implement their language into your interview answers. You want to be able to go in-depth in your answers to questions, and the more information that you have on the company, the more you’ll be able to offer in your answers
It may also be helpful to research if the company has a dress code. This will help you be confident that you’re showing up to your interview in appropriate attire. If you cannot find information about their dress code, it’s better to be overdressed than under-dressed.
Questions to Ask a Recruiter Before an Interview
The recruitment process can be confusing to many. Learning how a recruiters advocates for you during your job search, hiring and interviewing process can be incredibly helpful. Ask the following questions to the recruiter once you get invited to interview.
1. How would you describe the culture of the organization?
2. How did this position become available? How long has the position been open?
3. What will this recruitment process look like from start to finish? How many interviews can I expect, and what interview types should I be prepared for (phone screen, virtual, etc.)?
2. Will I be expected to produce any writing samples, videos, or work assignments?
3. Who will I be interviewing with? What kind of interview questions should I be prepared to answer? Is there a recommended format for my responses (ex: S.T.A.R.)?
4. How long will the interviews last, and how many people will I be interviewing with at one time?
5. What, if anything, should I be prepared to bring with me for the on-site interviews, and what dress-code do you recommend?
6. What are your recommendations for effective interview prep for this team? Can you tell me more about how they operate day-to-day?
7. Is it appropriate to bring in examples (or a portfolio) of my work? Have other candidates done this successfully? Do you recommend it?
8. Can you describe the “culture” of the organization I’d be hiring into? What kind of work-life balance do they have?
9. What recommendations do you have for researching salary range for this position and level?
10. Can you accommodate my disability, or special need?
The Night Before a Job Interview
Prepare the location of the call/meeting as well as your wardrobe, lighting (for virtual meetings), charging the phone, Bluetooth headset, etc. Use a landline whenever possible, and disable call waiting to avoid interrupting calls.
If your interview is online, make sure that your computer is fully charged, and that you have a location set up for your interview. You want to have good lighting, and you should try to eliminate background clutter. Ideally, the background behind you should be a blank wall or office. If other people are going to be in your space during your interview, you may want to kindly remind them that you would appreciate it if they were respectful during the time of your call.
If your interview is a phone call, you should make sure that your phone is charged, as well as your headphones or Bluetooth set. You may also find it helpful to have a backup option in case you have technical difficulties. Keep in mind that an interviewee can’t see you in a phone interview, so you want to be enthusiastic with your answers.
- Pro Tip: print out your resume and create a cheat sheet.