How to ace the interview: part I
Eager, excited, and a little nervous for a big interview? We can help you prepare.
Going into an interview can be nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t have much experience. The interviewer is there to find out what you bring to the table and you’re there to learn more about the company. Your goal is to show them why you’ll be an excellent asset to the team and theirs is to walk away with a new star employee.
You want to present yourself, your experience, and skillset in the best light possible, and have some of your own questions to ask. But don’t get overwhelmed, we break down all these topics and more into eight easy-to-follow sections (plus one bonus tip) below and in Part II. Let this be your guide to all things interview, so you can ace your next one with confidence and finesse.
Prepare with research
It’s important to understand exactly who and what you’re interviewing for. Thoroughly research the position and company beforehand so you know which qualifications apply and what your responsibilities will be. Check out the company website, social media accounts, reviews, and even your interviewer’s LinkedIn page. This is a great way to see if their company culture and ideals align with yours; plus, they might ask you what you know about the company or why you want to join them. Remember, they will only be confident in hiring you if you’re confident in being hired.
The pre-interview interview
Believe it or not, researching yourself is just as important as researching them. Are you qualified? Keep relevant qualifications on-hand even though they have your resume. Why should they choose you? Ask yourself how you’ll bring value to the company in a way others cannot. Whether or not the interviewer asks, it’s important to know so you show up confident and prepared. Represent yourself accurately and in a way that highlights what an asset you’ll be. In other words, this is your time to shine!
Know what kind of interview to expect
The style of interview makes a difference in how you prepare. Behavioral interviews ask questions like, “tell me about a time when…”, technical interviews (ex. software engineers) may require you to solve an algorithm, and case interviews (for consulting firms) may ask you to answer case questions. If it’s a phone or Zoom interview, make sure you’re in a quiet environment with no disruptions and your device is fully charged. Test your equipment ahead of time and pay attention to your background and lighting. Look into the camera to “make eye contact,” not at the screen, and wear bright colors so you stand out. And no matter the format, be sure to show up early, organized, and well put-together.
First impressions are not overrated
It takes about seven seconds to develop a first impression, so try to make it count. The interviewer will be assessing things like professionalism, kindness, intelligence, and responsiveness. Arrive 10 minutes early, greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, and repeat their name to show you’re tuned in (plus it will help you remember it). Stay authentic but keep in mind most people need to turn up their energy slightly to impress during an interview. Be sure to pace yourself so you can maintain good eye contact and stay positive, confident, and upbeat for the duration.
In Part II of How to Ace the Interview, we’ll go over the importance of personality, presentation, and honesty, and typical interview questions, how to prepare a closing statement, plus our bonus tip to boot. We hope the first part of this post already has you feeling more confident than before, and that the next part will help you knock that interview out of the park. Stay tuned!