Interviews are a key part of the job search process because they provide a company’s leaders or hiring team the opportunity to learn more about you (and other candidates) as a person and as a professional. Interviews can seem imposing at first, but with the right preparation, you will be well on your way to interview success. Earlier this month, we published an article on common interview mistakes (and how to address them). This time, we’re back with more important advice on how you can make your next employer interaction a success.
We love the community we are building at Devant. It is full of talented international students, HR professionals, career coaches and industry leaders. This time, we reached out to Michelle Ashley Founder of the Tailored Career for some interview insights. In this article, we talk about 2 common interview scenarios and how to best prepare for them.
Have you done your company research?
Scenario: Imagine an interview where the recruiter asks some variation of “why are you interested in our company?”. The candidate has read through the company’s website and proudly recites back a paragraph of the “About.” They add on a generic detail about how the company seems “great,”. This is something they say for all job interviews – regardless of the organization.
What the Interviewer Hears: Direct quotes from a website or generic statements can sound like you lack interest in the position. It indicates you didn’t take the time to get to know an employer beyond one page on their website, which suggests that you may take the same type of minimal effort approach to your work.
Next time: Conducting employer research will show your enthusiasm for the job and help you craft your interview responses. Have a great understanding of the organization, including its challenges, future plans, and customers. Beyond the “About” section, check out their competition, social media presence, company newsletters, financial reports, and 3rd party news and press articles. This research will help structure your interview answers to showcase how experiences will help that specific organization. If you can’t find a lot of information about the employer, don’t make any guesses about who they are and what they do. Simply make note of any gaps, and be prepared to ask insightful questions about them in your interview.
Do you have questions you want to ask the employer?
Scenario: The interviewer has completed the interview and offers to answer any questions you might have. The candidate stares blankly at the interviewer for a moment. They haven’t prepared any particular questions, and after a moment, only think to ask when they should expect to hear a decision from the employer.
Result: Not asking questions shows a lack of interest in the position and in your career. It also indicates that you may not have the best active listening or critical thinking skills to be able to continue the conversation. It’s important to know that many recruiters make a note of the questions you ask. In some cases, even the lack of questions can make it to your interviewer’s notes.
Next time: When the recruiter asks if you have any questions, your answer should always be “Yes”. This is your last chance to make a good impression.
Having thoughtfully prepared questions can show that you are genuinely interested in the company, the role, and the people you would be working with. They demonstrate that you have prepared for the interview and that you take your career seriously. The hiring team understands that you also have a big decision to make. You have to consider if this is the right career move.
Develop a list of questions that you are sincerely interested to ask the interviewer. This should be a two-way conversation.
Here are a few good ones to start with:
- What can I expect day to day in my role?
- What are the opportunities for professional development and growth?
- Are there opportunities for social development available to employees?
- How do you measure success in the role?
If you truly feel like the interview was thorough enough to answer all your questions about the role and the organization, you can also consider asking about the interviewer.
Here are a few examples:
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- Who are your mentors in the organization?
- What do you anticipate will be future trends to look for in the industry?
Are you ready to get your interview prep started? Join us at our FREE Perfecting your Interview Skills Workshop. Register now to learn even more insights and tips on acing your next interview.