Job hunting is a stressful and exciting time where you can show all you’ve got and hopefully start a new chapter in your life! However, I would be delusional if I didn’t mention how soul-crushing and depressing job hunting can get.
That’s why there are so many resources to help you with your CV, cover letter and interviewing skills. This is one of those helpful resources, and if you ever went to an interview and didn’t land a job – I recommend reading it. Because as we all know, there is no such thing as ‘too much’ self-improvement.
As exciting as they seem, job interviews also put a heap of expectations on what you should do to stand out and secure the position. These expectations come from multiple sources:
1 // The interviewer expects you to come on time, prepared and to know a thing or two about the company you are applying to be a part of.
2 // Your school or family might have an expectation to present yourself well at the interview and get what you deserve (one of those pressures we don’t ask for …)!
3 // YOU! Yes, you also probably have some kind of a standard that you hold yourself to on how well-prepared you are for an interview. If you don’t expect anything from yourself, now would be a good time to start.
My interviewing standards changed quite a bit until I found what works best for me. Let me expand on this a little …
When I got an interview for a position at Bright Conferences (generationYOU parent company) – two years ago – I couldn’t be more excited!! I had a week to prepare for the interview and during that week I stalked the Bright Conferences website. I read over each web-page and blog post that was ever posted on generationYOU (creepy), to be as prepared as I could.
That sort of preparation was probably over the top and is not reasonable if you apply for many jobs at the same time – oh and spoiler alert – I only got the job a year later, so that insane prep for the interview wasn’t the be all and end all for the job!
Late last year I was invited to an interview at a different (well known) organisation … and I spent no more than 30 minutes preparing for the interview. While the interview went well, I definitely felt like I could’ve been more prepared when it came to specific questions about the role!
It is always good to find that silver lining for yourself and really be honest about how WELL you are prepared. To help with this, I made a small list of the points that are important to keep in mind when you are preparing for an interview.
Four key areas to prep for an interview:
Information on your (potential) future employer.
>> What is the company’s story?
General knowledge like this will help to get some context about the organisation. Find out about this on the ‘About us’ page and beyond ie. Social media, news articles etc.
>> Who works/worked there?
Can someone you know tell you more about the organisation? If you are ready to go an extra mile, you can ask someone who worked there before about the company or the application process (someone I know did that exact thing and landed an internship at Amazon).
>> What achievements does the company display on their website?
This is ‘nice to know’ info that can have a huge impact on your interview. Tip: Don’t forget to research what those achievements actually mean.
>> What other information could be relevant to the position you are applying for?
This information can help you to form a great question about the position, that will show your interviewer how well you understand the position and how you could fit into the organisation.
>> Go through mock questions about the skills you have and what will make you great at the job you are applying for.
>> Literally Google: “questions that you may be asked during an interview”!!!
>> Go through examples you are going to provide at the interview to show your particular experience or skill.
>> Ask your colleagues or friends about your strengths and weaknesses. Ask for examples.
>> Brainstorm non-generic questions that will show you are not only interested in the position, but also in the organisation itself.
>> Decide what you will be wearing. Sometimes what you think is an ‘office-appropriate’ may be considered ‘underdressed’ at the organisation you are going to. Ask for opinions from a career advisor/tutor/lecturer/mentor.
>> Body. Language. Need I say more?
>> Do a power pose on the day of your interview … at least 10 times.
After the interview.
>> If you think it is appropriate, follow-up your interview with an email thanking the interviewer for their time. You could also ask one last question, if you think it will show your deeper understanding of the position after the interview. Please avoid asking obvious questions though, your goal is to be interesting and not annoying!
>> See what really works best for you and what you think will be irrelevant for your particular situation!
I know that you might have more suggestions on what to cover in your interview prep, if you do, please leave your comments below or drop them into our Facebook group … we always love seeing what you’ve got to add!