I was out of commission last week battling some migraines I had never before experienced, hence the lack of posts. I was unable to get anything done and for a workholic, you know that hurt me as bad as the migraine. I then spent all weekend talking entrepreneurship with a bunch of Baddies before being right back in the office this week. Ironically, while checking emails Sunday evening before bed I got one asking me specifically what I would suggest when preparing for an interview. I may preach ownership quite a bit, but let’s not get confused, corporate careers can be incredibly fulfilling, especially when you land a job you really want.
I haven’t had to interview for a job in a very long time, since I’ve been with my current company since I graduated three years ago. But I will say, that I’ve never interviewed for a job and not gotten it. From FootAction to Shell, I’ve accepted over a dozen offers. I truly enjoy my 9-5 and recognize that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, so it’s imperative if you’re looking for a career that you’re taking the time out to properly prepare for an interview.
Don’t let your nerves show, even if they’re present. Confidence is key in landing the things you want. At the same time, confidence is not to be confused with flamboyant arrogance. No ones like a know-it-all, we like know-a-lots. I can honestly say I’ve landed a handful of jobs with very little preparation because I was confident that I could not only land it, but do an exceptional job once I was hired. Meek personalities don’t exude enough self-certainty to convince your potential employer that you’ll be able to fulfill whatever their current needs are, even if you’re fully capable. They’re looking for a qualified candidate who believes they’re an asset and can add value to their company.
Because “so tell me about yourself…” is an unavoidable question. A quick elevator speech will suffice. While you want to give a full answer, you don’t want to lose your interviewers attention or go too far off track. You also don’t want to give so many details that they have no other questions to ask. Try to envelope enough personal details while still remaining business focused. You enjoying bike riding and Harry Potter books is cool, but what does that have to do with what you can do for them? Start with what you studied in college and what you currently do, highlight two noteworthy accolades or milestones and move into how it’s positioned you for the challenges and responsibilities of the role you’re interviewing for.
Look Up Their Social Media
This gives you a feel for their company culture. Get a feel for “who” your company is in order to figure out “why” you want to work there, other than the fact that you need a job. What’s their dialect like? Very straight forward with a monotone? Are they sarcastically bantering with each other? Feel free to throw a few jokes in as you’re meeting with people. Are they tweeting up a storm about an event or product launch? Use it as a conversation starter. This not only shows them that you mesh well, but also shows them you know what they’re about and what they’re working on.
Practice Common Interview Questions
This one should be a no brainer. When they ask you what you think your biggest flaw is, you don’t want to hesitate as if they should know you’re perfect and don’t have any. It’s a difficult question to answer and many will be. It’s as simple as Googling “most common interview questions” and answering them in the mirror. When watching yourself, be mindful of where your eyes go and your posture. Eye contact and body language is crucial. Are you slouched? Are your arms crossed? Are you looking up into space? Fidgeting, wondering eyes and closed-in body language take away from the credibility of your responses.
Always Have Questions
The interview is a two-way conversation and almost all of them will end in whether or not you have any questions for your interviewer. This is your chance to learn more about the company and the role. Prepare thoughtful questions in advance. Having questions shows that you’re interested and curious. Having intelligent questions shows that you’re prepared and ready to talk business. Some specific questions I like to ask are “what would a typical day in this role be like?”, “what do you enjoy most about your job?” and “how soon are you all looking to make a decision?” so I can know when to expect to hear from them.
Clean-up Your Social Media Accounts
Google is the first place potential employers are going to look for you. If there are things on your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook you don’t want them to see, make sure you check your privacy settings. As responsible as you may be, opinionated posts, inappropriate photos or excessive partying could very well be a turn-off. There’s more to be found out about you than you’d believe thanks to the Internet. If I interview with another company, I better be prepared for them to ask about The B Werd. Luckily my LinkedIn pops up higher in the search.