EPISODE 603: Want the Job? Ace the Interview!
Are you interviewing now or planning to in the near future? If so, you are in good company. A whopping 52% of Americans are considering job change. That’s an enormous number as the ripple effects from the pandemic continue to be felt and individuals take deep looks at what they want their life to be moving forward after so much upheaval and turmoil.
Today, I want to share with you how to prep for an interview if you plan to be among that number. There will be some very well-qualified competition. Let’s discuss the overarching issue first and then I’ll give you some tips on how to ace the interview itself.
Here’s the elephant in the room. Job interviews are intimidating. Period. Even those people who don’t appear to be sweating it are. Experience doesn’t help a lot as each interview is so different. Nobody feels perfectly calm before the questions start. Having the reassurance that this is completely normal helps.
Here are some great tips for you from the organization and people equation of the interview.
Study the company itself. The key word here is study. A cursory look just won’t suffice. Pay particular attention to the About Us and Press pages. Check out the pictures on the website and the verbiage they’ve chosen to describe themselves. Even the colors of their pages and logo tell a tale. If you look deeply enough, and you should, clues to the companies’ culture will emerge. Here’s a key fact for you. If the culture doesn’t resonate with you, it will never be a good match for either side and it’s best to figure that out ahead of time. For example, some people thrive in a buttoned up corporate culture with a lot of training, tools, and support. Along with that there can be a lot of red tape and meetings. Others like a more casual environment with less hierarchy and being closer to the action. Those companies can also be more volatile. Know what your culture preferences are. You won’t be changing what’s in place at a company unless you are going into the C Suite so make sure you feel good about what you see.
Check out the individuals you are interviewing with. If you are working through an internal or external Recruiter, make sure you get the names and titles. It’s quite fine to ask. Use LinkedIn and Google extensively to understand their professional background, education, and any organizations, sports teams or interests they have. Finding common ground in any one of these areas is gold. Being able to address their background shows that you are a detailed person who does their homework. Be very thorough here as well.
Who do you know? See what LinkedIn connections you have and reach out to them for insight around the organization, current initiatives, and what it’s like to work there. Don’t hesitate to do this. I have clients that feel like they are being bothersome or intrusive to make this ask. Many people are happy to give you ten minutes for an overview and find it flattering. Consider reaching out to people at the company who are closely linked like a second-degree connection on LinkedIn to someone you know and link in with them. If they accept, it’s fine to ask them for time to gain understanding of the organization. Note that the more people that are touchpoints for you at a company, the better.
Bottom line. Do your homework. Get serious about knowing the facts about the company as your critical first step.
If you’d like a partner to help with navigating your career search, I bring 34 years of business leadership and HR to the table. I’ve placed thousands of people in jobs at hundreds of companies and I can help you, too. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 30-minute consult