Showing up to an interview requires possessing more than just that arsenal of resumes, business cards, and reference lists in your portfolio. There are also a few key things you need to know and be able to discuss with an interviewer come the big day – things that require a little bit of light studying, but that can do a world of good in pleading your case.
Know Your Background
This may seem obvious, but it’s so easy to freeze up and forget about the basics of your career history when you’re in the middle of an interview. On one hand, that’s why it’s great to have a copy of your resume in front of you, just in case you find yourself in one of these terrifying, awkward moments. However, suffice it to say, constantly referring to your resume doesn’t come off quite as well as confidence, preparation, and steady eye contact do. After all, if it’s on your resume, you’re expected to be able to discuss it. So take the time to go over your experiences and think of potential talking points. If you do this ahead of time, you’ll have a much smoother – and ultimately a much more successful – interview.
Know the Company
Surfing the web the night before your interview to find and memorize the “About” section of the company’s website is not enough. If you’re aiming to impress, figure out what the company is really all about. Read the mission statement, look for recent company appearances in the news, become familiar with sister companies or corporate brands. Firms want to hire individuals who can truly contribute something, and someone who knows the company is more capable of doing this. Convey a vested interest in the company, and let the interviewer know that once you’re brought on, you can spend less time learning the ropes and more time underscoring that “About” section.
Know the Position
Again, this is another one of those “you may think you know” topics, when in reality, you have a lot to learn. Knowing the position is about being acquainted with similar positions in the company, or similar positions at other companies. You should be familiar with the industry to which you are applying, and should know the ins and outs of the position itself, including duties, qualifications, and salary requirements. You should also consider how different aspects of your background compliment the job requirements. Finally, contemplate your goals, and how this position will fit into them or help you get closer to them. Really understand what it is that you’re going after, and hiring managers will be much more receptive to your pitch.
Understanding these key elements in a job search can really lay the foundation for a great interview. And while some may write these off as the “basics”, understanding the nuances of what you want and what you bring to the table can truly affect whether or not you ultimately land that dream job.
The Doostang Team