Hey friends! Recently I have been getting messages asking for advice and tips for people entering into the workforce right after college. Maybe it’s because graduation season is quickly approaching or maybe it’s because I have been sharing a little more about my 8-5 career! Either way I love sharing tips on this topic so today I am sharing 5 powerful interview tips that will totally prepare you to nail your next (or first) job interview!
Powerful Interview Tips
- Make sure you research the company you are interviewing with – you don’t have to be an expert by any means but you should know some high level facts. For example, 3 things I like to know before interviewing with a company are:
- When and how the company started- Researching information such as this will open up so much knowledge. Referencing some of these facts during your interview will really show the interviewer you did your homework.
- The company’s mission and values- knowing a company’s mission and values should be a reason you want to work for them. Becoming familiar with this will allow you to speak to your knowledge about the company as well as give you the opportunity to talk about how your personality and work ethic align with those values and mission.
- How much the company has grown in the past xxx years. Researching this could also help you talk about why you are interested in working for their company. The possibilities of your career growth for example.
- Be truthful but smart when explaining why you are interviewing for a new job– This won’t apply if you are a new graduate on the hunt for your first job but if you are leaving one company for another, really think thoroughly about how you will answer the interview question, “why are you seeking another job opportunity?”. If it’s because you see the potential of more professional growth with the new company versus your current company, great. But if it’s because you are currently working in an environment where you feel like your co-workers are not “team players” or just don’t work as hard as you do and you don’t want to be around that anymore? Be careful on how you word that. Although it may be true, trust me I’ve been there, but you don’t want to come off as a complainer and you definitely don’t want to have the interviewer thinking, “what if it’s you that’s the problem?”. In all honesty, I have definitely thought that when interviewing candidates.
- Study your resume- this may sound silly but I have interviewed quite a few people that when I asked about a past job it was like they didn’t totally remember what they did there. I can understand how you may have forgotten things about a position that you worked at 4 years ago but when you are stepping into an interview be prepared to talk about how you thrived and/or grew professionally in each position you have held.
- Use examples to answer the obvious interview questions. – I’ve had a few off the wall interview questions like “what items are in your trunk right now?” but if you have sat through an interview or 2 in your life you will know that there is a 99.9% chance you will be asked: “What are your weaknesses?”, “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” and “What would you consider your greatest strength?”
- What are your weaknesses? – I feel like this question is a trap, haha but I always ask it and I have always been asked it when being interviewed. My best advice is to provide an example of when you realized your weakness (this proves self awareness) and then provide an example of how you overcame that weakness (this shows problem solving skills and the motivation to want to better yourself). For example, instead of just saying “I’m a perfectionist” you can describe a time when you took a little longer on a project because you wanted it “just right” but how that made you realize you were holding up the people who were waiting for you to complete their part of the project. Explain how you were still able to meet deadlines but realize that your “weakness” may affect other people. Talk about how you have improved this weakness by giving yourself an allotted timeline to complete the project and really utilizing your attention to detail to ensure your work is done right the first time.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? – This would be a great opportunity to give an example on the research you have done on the company. Maybe the department you are applying for has grown tremendously in the past 5 years and you see that as potential for your professional growth. Try to be specific as possible as to what you are wanting in each year. For example, year 1, I forsee myself training and working diligently to becoming an expert in my role. Year 2 and 3 I would like to take full advantage of working closely with my colleagues to understand what each manages and to understand the processes as a whole. Year 4 and 5 become certified in xxx and be considered for xxx role within the company. This is a generic example but you really want to show that you do have a goal for your professional career and you are telling them that even though you do want to grow and promote, that you want to do it within the company.
- Follow up and thank them – most likely the interviewer is going to be interviewing other people. Making a lasting impression during your interview is important but that might not last if you are the only one who didn’t send a thank you card or email. Things to say in your follow up:
- Thank them – thank them for their time and giving you the opportunity to meet with them face to face.
- Reference something that was said during the interview – maybe it was something personal you guys talked about (bonus points!) like how you both were dog lovers or bonded over how you both have kids the same age. Giving the interviewer that feel good feeling again will score you major brownie points!
- Re-iterate – re-iterate why you think you will be a great fit for the company and the open position.
I really hope this blog post on interview tips was helpful! If there any questions, please feel free to comment below or email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.