It’s exciting to make it past the resumé and job application phase. Being invited to a job interview can feel exciting. It can also feel nerve-wracking.
Now that you’ve made it past the initial phase, it’s time to make the first impression needed to take the next step.
You can also shift your perspective: during the beginning part of the job application phase, you are just the words on your resumé and cover letter. Being invited to an interview is an opportunity for a potential employer to actually get to know you, your personality, and how your experience relates to their company.
How can you make a lasting impression on the interviewer? Spending time researching and preparing for the interview is essential to get over your nerves and make a good impression.
Follow these job interview tips to stand out from the crowd:
1. Research the company beforehand. The start of your interview preparation should be company research! Look at company values, their LinkedIn page, and the About page on their website. This research will help you connect your answers to the company values and mission.
2. Show you have the skills the company is looking for in that role. It’s easy to tell the interviewer that you are “deadline-oriented” or a “team player.” For every skill in the job listing, come up with relevant experiences that show you have those skills.
- What is the company looking for?
- How does your experience line up with the job listing?
- What relevant results have you gotten before? Prepare numbers or percentages that demonstrate your accomplishments.
- Think about specific experiences that show you have certain qualities or skills.
3. Prepare an answer for “tell me about yourself.” This open-ended question interviewers ask gives them insight into who you are behind your resumé, cover letter, and job conversation. It’s a way for interviewers to start the conversation and get to know and understand you. Here are some ideas:
- Give a brief overview of your education, most recent jobs, and insight into short and long-term career goals.
- Tell a professional story – what inspired you to pursue the field? Why are you passionate about your work?
- Show your personality and interests (and make them relevant to the company).
4. Practice for the interview beforehand. Practicing will help you prepare answers for the questions you may be asked during the interview.
- Think about why you’re interested in that specific role and company.
- Prepare to talk about the connection between your past experience and the current position you’re applying for.
- Practice body language and making eye contact.
- Consider recording a mock interview and reviewing your answers and body language.
5. Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview. At the end of the job interview, your interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to learn about the company, as well as show your interest.
- What does a typical day look like?
- How is performance measured and reviewed?
- Why did you choose to work with this company?
- What professional development opportunities are available to new employees?
- What are your goals for the first six months of this position?
- Which of the experiences we discussed today is most relevant to this position?
Walk into the interview calm, confident, and engaged. During your interview, engage with the interviewer! Don’t just answer their questions. Have a conversation with the interviewer as well.
Being engaged and confident will help you build a relationship with the interviewer and make a lasting impression.
Preparing for your job interview might feel like a lot is on the line. Look at this as an opportunity to build a relationship with the interviewer and show how you would fit in with the company culture.
Marsha Guerrier is a bestselling author, speaker, trainer, business analyst, business coach, and CEO of HerSuiteSpot®, a MWBE and SBE certified small business consulting and coaching agency that provides online and in-person support to early stage female founders looking to accelerate their business.