Preparing for an Interview

Close up interviewer interview candidate apply for job at meeting room in office
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Job Interviews: we love to hate them, and hate to love them. Like it or not however, at a point in their life pretty much everyone will be heading in for an important interview.  I guarantee you, not many people enjoy interviews, even the interviewer. If you’re one of those people that enjoy them, good for you (though I’m not sure why you’re reading this article). This may be tailored to people that need a little extra courage or just a little assurance that everything will be okay.

Let’s be honest, interviews can be grueling, but they can also be really fun—especially if you’re talking to the right company. Some can last way too long, and others are way too short. Those short ones can be panic inducing—how can someone really gauge if I’m a good fit over a 30-minute phone call? Do they think I’m stupid because I had a brain fart and couldn’t answer where I grew up as a kid? But don’t worry! You’re not alone. One of the biggest things to remember while reading this, is yes, they are interviewing you, but YOU ARE ALSO INTERVIEWING THEM.  Even if you don’t have much time to prepare, reading through these quick and easy steps will help you ACE your next interview.  Time to show who you are, what you’re worth, and why YOU are the right person for the job.

There are many things you can do for yourself prior to an interview (phone, virtual, or in-person). Read on for my best pre-interview tips and tricks.

1. Don't Be An Airhead

MAKE SURE TO RESEARCH THE COMPANY YOU ARE INTERVIEWING FOR. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the number of times candidates didn’t even know the name of the company they’re interviewing for baffles me. Be respectful of their interest in you and write down some notes after looking at their website or see if you can find anything about them in the news.

  • They specialize in X product or services. They have 500 locations nationwide in x,y,z states. They are planning to merge with X Company in a year. These will help you identify questions you can ask to the interviewee once the interview is underway.

2) Have multiple hard copies of your resume handy.

Read over it! They will always ask you about your experience and your background.

3) Review the Job Description

Cross reference the job description to your resume, and think of instances of what experiences you’ve done apply to the job description. Write these down on some notepaper in case you blank mid-interview.

4) Be Ready to Take Notes

As mentioned before, bring a professional looking notepad if in-person or virtual where you can jot down notes of your conversation, and to write down questions you think of on the spot in the interview. Even if your notes don’t make sense, Interviewees love to see that you’re staying engaged and respecting what they’re saying.

5) Do Your Research

Research the person conducting the interview if possible—most of them have LinkedIn profiles which have valuable tid-bits of information. Do you have anything in common with this person? People love to talk about themselves, so try and find something you can talk outside of the job description that makes them remember you. If you can’t find anything about the interviewee, try to get to know them during the interview!

6) Get Your Mind Right!

Get a good night’s sleep, go on a walk or run before the interview to get the jitters out, and clear your mind. Clean up your workspace, or house, make your bed—this will make you feel accomplished. Eat a balanced meal before. Make a cup of coffee. Listen to some pump-up music. YOU WILL ROCK THIS INTERVIEW.

If the Interview is Virtual...

1) Treat These As If They're In Person!

This is a hugely important step! Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean you can slack off during the interview–the interviewer will definitely notice.

  • Dress for the job you want! The mindset and confidence of being in a nice business suit or button down shirt always helps. If you want to get even more technical there is psychology behind the colors you wear for the job you want.

2) Run Technology Tests

Test Audio and camera 10 minutes prior to the interview. Relay any technical issues to your recruiter or HR Rep before the interview.

3) Prepare Your Set-Up

    • Elevate your laptop on a stable surface to avoid staring down into the camera, and so that the camera isn’t shaky. You don’t want the person interviewing you to get motion-sickness…
    • Position yourself at a table, against a plain, neutral background. NO CLUTTER IN THE BACKGROUND. Many people don’t think about this, but if you’re doing this in your kitchen and there are a pile of dishes in the sink you’ve been meaning to clean for 2 weeks—it’s not going to reflect well on you.
    • Check the lighting in the room with the camera. Make sure they can see you clearly.
    • Exclude kids, pets, etc. from the room for the duration of the interview.

4) Limit Distractions

    • Close all other applications on your laptop. You don’t want to be distracted by notifications from other apps.
    • Silence your cell phone, and disable vibration. Keep your eyes on the screen as much as you can! Stay engaged.

5) Be Prepared

    • Have a copy of your resume handy. See above.
    • Attach post-it notes around your screen with prompts + questions you wish to ask the interviewer.
    • Have a pen and paper at hand.
    • Keep a glass of water next to you. Go to the bathroom before the interview!
    • Make sure you have the phone number of the interviewer in case the video connection is lost.

6) Warm up your vocal chords!

Call your mom, your recruiter, talk to your dog before the interview.

Like I mentioned above, whether virtual or in-person, interviews can be hard and preparation is key. I hope you’ve picked up a few things  from this post—stay tuned for next month’s installment, where we will go over best practices during the interview!

A.C. DeMoss is a Recruiting Manager and part of the marketing team at SHR Talent. When he’s not working, he produces and performs with his band Venture Palace, and enjoys spending quality time with his fiancee as well as their yellow lab puppy, Toast. He also happens to know all the best places to hang in East Nashville—if you see him, make sure to ask his favorite spots!

A.C. can be reached by email at andrew@shrtalent.com or phone at 615-992-3597.

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