Scoring an exciting interview can feel like praiseworthy win by itself. But after you’ve celebrated sensibly, the real preparation begins. Setting the date is only as good as getting a foot in the door. To turn that opportunity into an offer, you’ll need to plan your approach.
An ounce of preparation can prevent a plethora of common interview missteps. We offer these preparation and meeting tips to help you make sure you don’t miss your shot. All of these tips assume that you're only interviewing for jobs you're excited to do - using your skills and experience in fulfilling work you'll enjoy.
Do Your Research
While it’s common to expect that the party doing the hiring will be the one asking the questions, stand-out candidates come with at least a few questions of their own. But be mindful: the interview is not a great place to learn about the company. Asking for answers you could have looked up won’t reflect well on you. Your prior research allows you to show up in a positive excited mindset, not with a research mindset or questioning demeanor.
Be proactive in getting to know your prospective employer before you set foot on the premises. Start with a review of their websites, their social profiles, and any available press. Score bonus points – schedule a research call or two with current employees; in addition to sharing insider insights you need about who thrives there and how you’ll be a top candidate, they might put in a good word with the hiring manager!
Check the Culture
Armed with admirable knowledge about your prospective employer’s operations, you’ll be freed to focus on another important topic in the interview: the culture. Your research should tell you plenty about how the company wants to be seen, but current employees are more likely to tell you how it is.
Take the chance to learn what’s important to the company’s leaders and how their stated priorities inform day-to-day operations. What’s the energy of the business unit you’ll work with most directly? How does the company support an inclusive environment? How do leaders motivate their teams to show up at their best?
If your questions provoke thoughtful, direct responses, you’re probably in a good place. But if your interviewer starts to squirm, you may want to ask yourself why.
Chances are you scored this interview by successfully highlighting your strengths, so it may be tempting to carry this strategy into the conversation. Temper that urge; if you’re in the room, your interviewer is plenty impressed. Now’s your chance to paint a picture of how your skills will serve.
Enter the interview with the service mindset -- “how can I best help you?” -- and avoid discussing your wants and ambitions until a later follow-up. When you speak about yourself, be brief and focus your responses on how your experience translates into solutions to the team’s specific, stated needs.
Connect the dots from your accomplishments to the stated or known needs, and your interviewers will have an easier time imagining how well you’ll fit the role. Their perception is vital to securing follow-up interviews and, ideally, an offer of employment.
Successive interviews can prove exhausting even at the best of times. Consider that the hiring manager may feel that exasperation. They likely enter each interview hoping to meet the perfect candidate, so they can stop interviewing and focus on other priorities. Your goal is to demonstrate that you’re the one to spare them a drawn-out hiring cycle.
As you discuss the company’s mission, vision, challenges, and needs, seize on opportunities to understand their demands and express how your hiring might meet them. What ambitions does the team and business have for the coming months and years? How can you share your experience to communicate you’re uniquely equipped to help them reach those goals?
Maintain the mindset that the company needs help; that’s why they’re interviewing you. The key is to tailor your questions and answers to speak to the problems they have. Pull that off, and the interviewer will see your value clearly because you’re offering value in the interview itself!
The road to a promising interview can prove long and fraught with pitfalls, so it’s all the more vital to be on your game when opportunity knocks. At ArcVida, we’ll partner with you to strategize and implement a path to success. Start by scheduling your free strategy session today.
More Reading: How to Stay Chill before an Interview
Published on 3/24/2021