Interview Success

PREPARING FOR YOUR INTERVIEW

 

  • Learn about the company. Understanding the company can inform your answers in the interview, and it can also help you prepare questions you’ll want to ask about the culture or organization. Visit the organization’s website and read its “About Us” page, seek out company reviews from former employees or current customers, and ask people in your network if they have any experience.

 

 

  • Examine the job description. Match your own skills, experience, and knowledge to the key criteria outlined. You will also want to consider how this role fits within the organization, and what it needs from the professional who fills it. Write down a list of all of the ways you have been successful in doing these activities in the past, or demonstrated how you have learnt to do something similar.

 

  • Research salaries. Understand the market rate for the position and assess what your own salary needs are. One of the biggest areas of job dissatisfaction is pay rate, so you need to do your homework now to be able to clearly ask for your worth in comparison to others in the industry.

 

  • Confirm your references. Contact your references, let them the know the position you are applying for and why you think it is a good fit for you. Point out to them what strengths that you possess that make this position a good fit; this makes it more likely that they will mention these points when they are contacted by the company.

 

  • Learn about your interviewers if you can. Look at their LinkedIn, profiles or any information that is about them on their company website. Where did they grow up, go to school, do you have anything in common? It is a facet of human nature that we like people who are like us, so even if the only thing you have in common is that your Aunt went to the same college, it could skew favor your way.

 

 

Prepare your talking points

While you should avoid giving stilted, canned responses to interview questions, you can boost your comfort level with common interview questions and prepare to answer them adeptly. In some cases, these core questions can seem so simple candidates fail to prepare for them; however, creating a thoughtful response to these seemingly simple questions allows you to control the impression you leave with your interviewers. Common interview questions include:

 

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself.This is your cue to give your personal elevator pitch (one that can be given in just a few minutes, about the length of an elevator ride). Instead of a full run-down of your career history, streamline this response to include some specific experience, accomplishments, and skills you want your interview to know, and conclude by highlighting how you’re prepared for the role.

 

  • What do you know about the position? While almost anyone can conduct some quick internet research and repeat a posted description, in addition to explaining what you know about the position, you should also explain what draws you to the role and why you are passionate about it.

 

  • Why should we hire you? Don’t be intimated by this question – while it can feel unnerving, it’s a perfect opportunity to help the interviewer see that you can perform the job, deliver great results, and become an excellent team member. What is it about you that other people do not have? Even if it is something as simple e

 

  • What are your greatest strengths? Don’t exaggerate strengths you don’t have or offer up what you think the interviewer is looking for. Instead, share your true strengths, but tailor them specifically to the position – and include examples that demonstrate how you’ve used those skills professionally in the past. If possible give specific quantifiable results; like I increased sales by 10% over a 12 month period, managed X number of employees, or number of clients on a daily basis.

 

  • What are your greatest weaknesses? It should not be a surprise that you’re also likely to be asked about your weaknesses. This question can be particularly tricky. You don’t want to highlight something that could preclude you from the position (for example: “I can’t show up to anything on time”), but you also don’t want to provide a glib answer like, “I never stop working!” Instead, share something that you are striving to improve. For example, you may be striving to streamline the meetings you run, and you have asked your team for feedback on your meeting agendas.

You have done your homework, and now it’s time to make sure you have everything ready for the big day.

  • Practice delivering your answers. Practicing about making sure you say the same thing each time, it’s to ensure you hit all your key points and messages.

 

  • Write down your questions. In the digital age, it’s important to make sure none of your questions can be easily answered by quickly glancing at the organization’s website.

Get ready - The day before the interview, prepare yourself for the interview with these tips:

  • Visualize yourself completing a successful interview
  • Get a restful sleep
  • Eat wholesome meals
  • Use breathing or meditation to reduce anxiety. The Headspace app has by far the best 10 minute meditation to help prepare you for your interview. But if you do not have the app, check out this free meditation from YouTube.

On the day of the interview, plan to leave the best impression on your interviewer. These apply to both in person or virtual interviews.

  • Dress in a classic, conservative, and professional way. You can ask your interviewer about the dress code or environment in advance, to ensure you’re dressed appropriately. An interview is not the time to make a fashion statement – ensure that you, not your attire, leave the impression. At the same time, do pick something that makes you feel confident. Studies have found that both women and men people are more likely to trust people who are dressed in either teal or eggplant colors, wear these colors if you have appropriate options for the interview.

 

  • Arrive early. Don’t let unforeseen traffic, navigation, or transportation issues get in your way. And keep in mind that larger buildings may also require security clearance and an elevator ride once you get on site.
  • Or have your camera, lighting set and appropriate. It is important that your face can be seen clearly and ideally for them to be able to see your armpits. Again studies have shown that people are more likely to trust someone on camera where they can see armpits, you become more than a floating head and it is easier to get a sense of your body posture. Use a cup and pens for your phone, move lamps from other areas of your home and place 2 behind where your camera will be on each side at about 45 degree angle of your seated position. You did not need to use a virtual background, just a a clean and clear wall works well.

 

 

  • Bring your materials. Include extra copies of your resume, a list of references, and your list of questions

 

  • Eliminate distractions. To avoid unnecessary disruption, turn off your phone, decline beverages, and remove gum. If you are doing the interview, remotely put your phone and devices into focus mode.

 

 

Show up

Now it’s time for all your work to pay off. During the job interview, you’ll want to:

  • Offer a firm handshake
  • Use good posture
  • Pay attention and listen well
  • Take notes
  • Smile
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Relax
  • Contribute to an enjoyable conversation
  • Adjust your answers to respond to your interviewer
  • Thank the interviewer
  • Understand the next steps, if anything is unclear or ambiguous ask the question now
  • Request a business card for follow up

Follow up

After the interview, take some time to write down your notes form the interview.

 

What went well?

What would you do differently?

Do you have any follow up questions for the recruiter?

 

You will also want to continue the discussion with your interviewer, by writing them a thank you email and reiterating why your skills are the best fit. If you met with more than one person, be sure to thank everyone, not only the hiring manager. Ask if you can take a business card during the interview so that you can email them directly later.

 

If you do not receive the position, be sure to ask for feedback, and let the interviewer know you are interested in other positions in the future.

 

With this checklist in hand and your interviews booked, you’re ready to get out there and start interviewing.

 

Good luck!

Robyn Ireland

[email protected]

 

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You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada), or The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. If you’d like to talk to a peer, warmline.org contains links to warmlines in every state. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. 

NOTE: Many of these resources utilize restrictive interventions, like active rescues (wellness or welfare checks) involving law enforcement or emergency services. If this is a concern for you, you can ask if this is a possibility at any point in your conversation. Trans Lifeline does not implement restrictive interventions for suicidal people without express consent. A warmline is also less likely to do this, but you may want to double-check their policies.