Job seekers consistently stress about landing a job interview, but they often forget about the process of preparing for the actual interview. From dressing right, to researching the company and interviewer thoroughly, to asking the appropriate and well-founded questions, job interviews can be as stressful as that waiting period after you initially submit your resume.
Interviewing is a skill that can be mastered by practice and training. It’s also one of the most important skills needed for career success. Remember, your resume is only as good as your ability to convey it in real time. The interview is an opportunity for your personality to shine and show why you are the perfect candidate for the position and company.
During the job interview, the prospective employer is determining the following:
- Do you match the skills of the position?
- Does your personality and attitude align with the company’s culture?
- Can you help the company grow and be more profitable?
The idea is to match skills with cultural fit and results through experience.
Dress for the Job You Want
Impressions are made within the first 60 seconds of someone meeting you. It’s often said that if you’re wearing something that makes you feel confident, you will exude confidence in return. If you’re preparing for an upcoming job search, now might be a great time to consult with a personal stylist to get a heads up on what style of business attire looks best on you for that interview. Depending on the industry, the interview may require a more conservative appearance or may allow for a more relaxed appearance with a mix of colors. The idea is to balance your own style with the company’s image.
Preparation is Key
The average job interview lasts for 40 minutes, which is a very short time to impress the interviewer and market yourself adequately.
Preparing for an interview is just as important as what you say during the interview. The more information you have before the interview, the better prepared you will be as well as more apt to tackle questions asked at the interview.
Always research the company (LinkedIn and Glassdoor are great sites for this), find out who your interviewer is (and research him/her), research the position thoroughly, and assess your strengths/skills in comparison to the job posting. Most importantly, review examples from your career trajectory that provide concrete evidence of your skills. Master your elevator pitch. Know the difference between personal skills and knowledge-based skills. This way, when you are asked to explain “a time when…” in your career, you will offer up a response that evidences both personal skills (facets of your personality) and knowledge-based skills (results through experience).
Consider asking about growth potential, what the interviewer enjoys most about the company, and the progression of the interviewer’s career there. These types of questions/areas of focus show that you have an avid interest in the company, its own employees, as well as the potential person you would be working with.
If you’re still struggling with interview preparation, consider investing in a career coach who can help you overcome the interview jitters, help you prepare for the most-pressing interview questions, and help propel your career success.