Alright, you read our article on writing your best resume and now you’re preparing for an interview - congrats! How do you ensure that you nail the interview and increase your odds of getting an offer for the position? Although having to prove your worth to a stranger in 60 minutes or less won’t always be a walk in the park, we have gathered the following tips and tricks from the best of the best at Level to help reduce the anxiety that comes with interviewing. Read on for our best practices in interview preparation.
Before the interview:
Review the job description - make sure you know the requirements and duties associated with the role for which you’re interviewing.
Research the company - make sure you know what the company does, the basic background of the person you will be speaking with (calling all social media stalkers!), and the ins and outs of the position. This will reduce the amount of "put on the spot" moments and help you remain calm, collected and confident. If you really want to impress, research beyond the company's web page. Have they been mentioned in the news lately? Bring that up and show you know your stuff. In the end, you should have a high level understanding of what the company does, as well as an answer for why you want to work there.
Find out who you’re interviewing with (if possible) - this is one of the great benefits to working with a firm like Level - we have inside knowledge and connections that allow us to work with hiring managers directly, and we can tell you who you’ll be speaking with.
Once you know who will be interviewing you, look them up on LinkedIn to find out what their role is at the company, what their background is, and to see if you have any shared experiences or interests that you can bring up during the interview.
Be flexible - with your time. We’re not asking you to be Simone Biles, but if a manager suggests an interview time or alternate location, make it work! If you are difficult during the interview process the interviewer will assume that is a reflection of how you will be as an employee.
During the interview:
Ensure that you have a stable internet connection and/or cell service for the duration of the interview.
For video interviews - ensure that you are in a well-lit and secluded place (with a low chance for intrusions). You should be dressed business professional (at least from the waist up) and have made some effort to look well put together.
Be on time (better yet, be early!) - this seems obvious but candidates arriving late for interviews seems to be common practice. If you are having trouble getting into the Zoom / Teams / WebEx meeting, it’s better to know that 5-10 minutes ahead of the interview so you have time to troubleshoot - or worst case scenario, you have time to let the interviewer know you’re having trouble and you can collaborate to find a work-around.
Be able to speak to your resume and be confident in what you know. You should be able to comfortably reflect on your previous experiences and speak to your knowledge around every single thing listed on your resume.
Avoid being negative, especially when speaking about previous employers.
Be prepared for the typical interview questions. In every interview you will have to respond to some variation of "tell me about yourself", "what is your greatest achievement", "what are your strengths and weaknesses". This is your opportunity to stand out. Here is a great article on how to craft creative responses to common questions.
Ask Questions - asking relevant questions based on the conversation shows that you pay attention to detail and will show the interviewer that you are interested in the role and in the organization. Here are a few questions we always recommend asking:
What can you tell me about the company culture?
How long have you been with the company? What is your favorite part about working here?
What is the company’s stance on diversity and inclusion, and what work is being done in this space?
How will my performance be measured in this role?
Have the last word - make sure to ask what the next step will be or what the time frame is for hiring. This will force the interviewer to think about those things if they have not already and will give you some clarity of what to expect. If you are feeling really bold you can even ask if they feel you are a good fit for the role or if you said anything that has made them doubt you. If so, this would be the time to mitigate those doubts.
After the interview:
Follow up with your recruiter, if applicable, to let them know how the interview went from your perspective.
Write a thank you letter to your interviewer(s) that reiterates 1) your interest in the position and company and 2) why you are the best fit for the role.
Your thank you letter should be specific and reference tools, technologies, skills, and experience that came up in the interview.
These tips are not a magic formula to land a job, but they can greatly improve your odds by making sure you are prepared, confident and not getting lumped in with the crowd of other candidates. For more personalized tips or to get help finding your dream job you can reach out to any of the experienced recruiters at Level D&I Solutions by emailing your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out a quick application on our careers page.