In an interview you have a few short seconds to make that all-important first impression. Nerves are heightened and this can make it challenging to present our best self. Most interviewers understand a bit of nerves, but preparation can make all of the difference in your overall presentation and ultimately, your future.
Here are some key preparation steps to follow before you walk through that door.
1. Prepare a list of examples – this can be projects, results, designs, etc. Be sure to have a broad spectrum of examples, just don’t bring your entire career and academic history.
2. Practice Answering Questions – Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your work style, your experience, your impact in prior roles, why you are not employed or deciding to pursue other opportunities and what makes you the best candidate for the role. Practice your answers. Give details and examples but keep your answers concise.
3. Research the company - Knowing information about the company you are interviewing with can give you an incredible edge. It will allow you to take the information you learn about their products or services and incorporate it into your interview answers. You will also be prepared when the interviewer asks you what you know about their company. This is a common question, and not having an answer is a sure-fire way to eliminate yourself from consideration.
4. Be informed about the latest in your industry - One of the easiest ways to impress an interviewer is to show that you are keeping informed about what is new in your industry. Knowing changes in your field can also give you an edge in the interview if you can incorporate this information into answers you give to the interviewer. Be informed about the latest industry trends and specifically how it might improve or impact the company that you are interviewing with.
5. Make a list of questions for the interviewer - It is important you get a clear understanding of the position and the expectations of the role. Finding out what your exact responsibilities are. How will you know if this position is the right fit for you if you do not understand what the job entails? Also, determining whether the company will fit your needs both professionally and culturally is key. Set yourself up for success by making an informed decision.
And one question you should NOT ask: It is not appropriate to ask about salary or any compensation during the interview. Save this discussion for the negotiation process.