So you’ve finally landed an interview for a job—congratulations! The job market is tough right now, the application process tedious, and the stress is at an all time high. It’s even harder for recent graduates because all entry level positions claim they want five years of experience in an applicant! Make it make sense! But here you are, about to have an interview, and looking for some guidance. Below I’ve rounded eight tips I frequently go over in career mentoring sessions, guaranteed to help you ace it.
Research the Company You’re Interviewing With
This should be a no brainer, but it amazes me how many applicants come my way with no knowledge of the company they’re applying for. I’ve been on both sides of the interview process and I can’t stress how important this is. It’s a bit disappointing (and a bad look tbh) when speaking to a potential candidate at EnVi and they tell us they don’t even read the content! How can you write for us when you aren’t familiar with our voice?
That goes for any job you’re applying to: do your research! It’ll instantly make you a stronger candidate and show you’re interested and dedicated.
Have Your About Me Memorized
This is my biggest tip in my career coaching sessions! Undoubtedly, the first question you’re most likely to be asked is, “Tell me about yourself.” MEMORIZE THIS! Have your self-elevator pitch ready to go and avoid any awkward rambling. Also kicking off your interview with a strong response will ease your brain into an “I got this” mode.
Practice Ahead of Time
I know it’s awkward, but practice basic interview questions out loud in front of your mirror. You should have an idea of general questions and a couple bullet points ready to go. Practicing out loud a few times helps get your get your thoughts together cohesively, and the mirror allows you to iron out any awkward movements.
Remember, your resume got you in the door, but now it’s up to you to get the job. Be ready to sell yourself!
Highlight Why You’re the Ideal Candidate
No matter what direction the conversation is going, tie it back to your values, skills, and achievements. You already have all the skills they are looking for (the ones listed on your resume!) now it’s time to give examples of them. Do they mention an upcoming project in the company? Share how you’ve managed/contributed to projects before! Let them know if given the opportunity, how you’d love to flex your experience for them.
Note: many places will genuinely look at attitude over experience when hiring. Even if you don’t have all the experience in the world, let them know you are ready to learn and bring the expertise you do have to excel.
Prepare Copies of Your Resume
This tip made more sense pre-pandemic times when interviews weren’t all virtual, but for the day you have an in-person: make sure to print out copies of your resume. Because with irl interviews, before even sitting down, they will ask, “Do you have a copy of your resume?” I would also go the extra step and print mine out on resume paper. Resume paper is available anywhere with office supplies or at your local post office / printing service.
Be Sure to Ask Questions
One of the most common things I hear in career coaching is, “I don’t know what to ask them.” ALWAYS be sure to ask questions and have some general ones prepped ahead of time. Some of my favorites include:
What are you looking for in an ideal candidate for this position?
Are there any upcoming goals/projects in this department? (then tie it back to your skills!)
What is your favorite part about working here?
And if the interview is going well, my final question is usually, “What are the next steps?”
Remember, It’s Just a Conversation
You have the interview because you already have what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate! You have earned your seat at this table. Now it’s just a conversation to see how you vibe—and it should go both ways. Keep it polite, but friendly. Make small talk to ease into it. Bring up current news/social trends that are relevant. (Note: this works well in my field, I can’t be sure for all industries!) Let your personality show and although interviews can understandably be very nerve wracking, remember at the the end of the day, it’s just a conversation.
Also remember, if you notice red flags or are not getting good vibes from it, listen to your gut. No job is worth risking your mental health!!!
Send a Thank You Follow Up
Do this within the hour after your interview. An easy template I like to use:
Dear NAME OF PERSON,
Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today about the INSERT ROLE position at INSERT COMPANY. With my combined experience and genuine interest in INSERT SOMETHING TALKED ABOUT, I believe am an ideal fit for this role. I especially liked learning how THE COMPANY is working on/developing/focusing on (pick a verb that fits) INSERT INTERVIEW TOPIC THAT STOOD OUT TO YOU—FEEL FREE TO ADD ANOTHER SENTENCE.
I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding next steps. Please let me know if there is anything else you need on my end.
Sending a thank you follow up is common courtesy and that goes a long way in the interview process. I feel like small acts of politeness are a bit lost these days, and I emphasize them a lot in career mentoring. I promise, you will never regret taking that extra step!
No matter where you are in your career journey, I’m confident the right job for YOU will happen. Trust the process and appreciate where you are on your journey. You got this!