You might be the perfect candidate, with a perfect resume, and exactly what a company is looking for. But, if you don’t know how to interview well, or conduct yourself in a professional manner don’t expect to land a job.
Over the years, the interview process has evolved into a digital landscape with new rules and codes of conduct. Although the platforms have changed, the importance of interviewing has only grown. As a job marketplace, our main focus is to get you hired. While you might think of us mainly as a place where you can find jobs, we are also dedicated to your success and are a resource that strives to help you every step of the way.
This being the case, we hosted a Job Searching 101 event with recruiters from companies like Expedia, Discover, and CVS Health to identify a list of interview tips and ways to prepare for an interview in 2023.
1. Research Everything About a Job & Company
First and foremost, before you even apply to a company, research must be done. While knowing all the ins and outs of the position you’re applying for is important, far more research is needed.
Learn about the company and its standing in the industry. What are some of the recent goals and expectations that the company has set for itself? Bonus points if you’re familiar with recent events that the company was involved in and you’re able to bring it up naturally in conversation. What are the company values, what is their mission and culture? Do you know their mission statement?
However, as much as you want to be informed and well-researched going into an interview, you also want the dialogue to flow naturally. You’re not trying to prove your knowledge or solve a problem, so try not to overdo it! As Taiana Hale, a College Recruiter for CVS Health says, “research the company and understand their industry and goals as an organization. However, try not to overdo it. You’re not trying to prove your knowledge. We still want the interview to seem natural.”
2. Understanding the Process
When you get to the interview portion of a job application it is best to familiarize yourself with the process as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask your main point of contact, whether it is the recruiter or the employer, what the particular process is like.
Is there a behavioral part and a technical part? Is there a case study portion? Ask them what is to be expected and what some good ways to prepare are. Not only will you be able to prepare yourself better for the interview but you’ll demonstrate to the recruiter or employer that you’re taking the time and energy to make sure you do a good job and potentially get the job.
Another great option is to reach out to someone who works at the company and ask them for tips! While you may not get a response 100% of the time, if you approach someone professionally and authentically they are more likely to help. At the end of the day, all processes are different, so don’t pull your hair out trying to memorize questions or certain steps of an interview.
3. Reliable Technology
The next thing you need to keep in mind when going into an interview is to have reliable technology that you have a firm grasp on. In this virtual age, a large percentage of job applications and interviews are done online through video chat or otherwise. This being the case, candidates need to make sure they have a good web connection, they’re testing the applications or platforms being used for the interview, and no technical difficulties will occur during the interview.
“I had an interview and the candidate was 12 minutes late because they hadn’t loaded the application and couldn’t get into the system. I hope that they learn from that and take more preparation going into the interview process next time”
Lane Garnett, Sr. Manager Recruiting Process and Engagement, Discover Financial Services
You could be the ideal candidate for a company but if you’re lagging on the video interviewing aspect you could get nixed. While in-person interviews have not been done away with entirely, virtual interviews are becoming more and more common. One way or another, having your technology locked in will ensure that you don’t miss out on a job because of a technicality.
4. Appearance and Aesthetic
Your appearance, whether it’s during an in-person interview or a virtual one, is critical. For virtual interviews, you want to make sure your background is neat and orderly and there are no distractions or off-putting stimuli. Adding a blurred filter to your background on a video call may be a good idea to ensure you aren’t showing an unprofessional background.
Always make sure you check how you look on camera before starting the interview. Glares from lighting, messy clothes in the background, and sound interference will all make you look unprofessional in the eyes of recruiters. So if you have roommates, make sure you let them know you’re going to be on an interview before they barge in asking about happy hour!
“This one time I was interviewing this one candidate, and they had their background was all set up fine and dandy, but they didn’t tell their roommates they were interviewing this day, and the roommates kind of barged into the room and started talking about “a crazy bender” they had last night, and it was not the best impression.”
Sean Bea, Early Careers Recruiting Expedia Group
When it comes to what you wear, the more formal you are the better. However, it’s a great idea to take note of what the aesthetic of a company is before going into an interview. Is everyone buttoned up with a jacket and tie? Or are some people rocking more casual wear with sweaters and shirts? Don’t fake your appearance, but always look professional so the employer will see you as a fit for their company.
5. The Question Part
At the end of your interview, more often than not, the person on the other end will ask if you have any questions yourself. The worst thing you can do in this situation is say no. On the other hand, a well-thought-out and intellectual question will leave a very good impression on the interviewer.
One great question is to ask the interviewers themselves about their own experience of the company. What do they like and enjoy about working there? What are some of the challenges they face and how can you support and assist them in some of those things? How do you measure success?
The list of good questions you can say at this moment goes on. Just remember to keep it relevant to the job and to ask something that seems like you’re interested in the longevity of your contributions to the company. You want to show that you have been paying attention and are engaged in the conversation.
6. How Do You Follow Up After an Interview?
This last interview tip is one that a lot of people tend to forget. Make sure to send the recruiter or whoever interviewed you a follow-up and thank you email. The first 24 hours after an interview is the best time to go ahead with a follow-up.
Use it as an opportunity to expand a little bit on what you discussed during the interview and points that resonated with you. If there was something that stood out to you or something you aligned with, whether it was one of the company’s core values, the direction they’re headed, or an attribute of the job, don’t be afraid to share that.
The more interviews you do, the better you will get. While it may be a time to show yourself off and what you’re capable of, don’t forget to use the interview as a time to see if the employer is a right fit for you.
The more you think about interviews as a conversation and an exchange of information the more at ease you will feel. Keep up with the WayUp community as we continue to share resume secrets, career tips, and professional information you can’t get anywhere else.
For more career advice and tips on how to find a job, keep up with the WayUp community guide and look out for new Job Searching 101 virtual events!
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