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Job Interview Prep

October 14, 2015

Have an interview coming up? Congratulations! Interviews are an exciting next step in the job hunting process, but we know they can be daunting too. Before your interview, here are some ways you can prepare to be confident and ready.

Refresh your own memory
You can guarantee that your interviewer will ask you to talk about the former jobs you’ve had and what type of work you have done in the past. If it has been a while since your former roles (or even if they were recent or you are still working there currently), brush up on the important points so you can confidently communicate them. Look back over your resume, jot down important projects or positions in your notes, and list out anything you want to be sure to mention in your interview. Nerves can run high when you get in the room, so thinking through everything beforehand is helpful. Kristin, a hiring expert from Avery Dennison Corporation, adds: “Another tip would be to take a good look at the job description and your resume and be able to talk to how your skills/education/abilities compliment what the company is looking for and be able to "sell" your skills. This will be a great way to prepare for your interviews.”

Practice your communication skills
At its core, an interview is just a conversation. Keep that in mind as you prepare, and try not to work yourself up with unnecessary stress and anxiety. It’s important that you work through your questions and your main messages before the interview so you can clearly communicate them.

Steve, a hiring expert at Caterpillar, Inc. gives this interview advice: “Speak clearly, without hesitancy, actively listen, and ask poignant questions.  It is in these initial interactions when things such as one's communication ability will be established with a company's decision makers.” It may seem silly to rehearse before your interview, but it can make a huge difference in your ability to be at ease and feel comfortable when the time comes. Ashlyn, hiring expert at Worthington Industries, says, “Proving your communication skills takes confidence and attention to detail; practice the point that you want to get across, look in the mirror while talking or video tape yourself. Make notes of anything you’d like to change and practice until those are corrected.”

Have your resume, references, and any other supporting documents printed and in hand
Showing up to an interview empty-handed won’t look good to the interviewers. Bring copies of your resume and cover letter with you to give out. If you have any other examples of your work or any sort of portfolio, bring that with you as well. Having tangible things to show your interviewers the kind of work you have done in the past will be impressive and show that you are prepared and serious about the interview. Siobhan, hiring expert at Accenture, gives this important reminder: “Ensure that any written documents and correspondence is clear, concise, grammatically correct and free of typos.”

Think through your answers to the tough questions and practice your answers outloud
One question our experts have been asked is “When an employer asks "Why shouldn't we hire you?" what is the best way to respond?” That’s a hard question to answer, and it’s one that could easily throw you off in an interview. Make a list of questions like this one before your interview, and work through how you would respond in a thoughtful and positive manner. Ashley, a hiring expert at Textron, Inc., says, “It is good practice to have an answer prepared for a question that involves talking about your weaknesses. You should always make sure that if you speak of a weakness to follow it up with how you are working to build your weakness into a strength. You could also answer it by speaking towards your strengths and what the company would be missing out on if they did not hire you.”

Even if this interview doesn’t land you the job, know that every time, you learn and get better at the whole process. Stay optimistic and confident in your abilities, keep practicing your communication skills, and give each interview everything you’ve got. If you have any further questions about interviewing, our experts are always here to give you their advice and feedback. We wish you luck! 

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