How to Prepare for Job Interviews

practice interviewResearching and practicing are a must. Knowing as much as you can about yourself and the company is by far the best advice for WNY job seekers. Think of it this way, it’s better to leave an interview knowing you had good, well-articulated answers than it is to have feelings of doubt and uncertainty because you didn’t prepare enough.

So how do you go about this research?

A great starting point is the company’s website. Go to their website and check out the company’s history, managers, latest news headlines, and especially their Mission and Values statements. If you have an interview, chances are they want to hire you, but they just need to know you are the best fit for them from among the other job seekers. You can answer their doubts by knowing a lot about the company and showing your interest in more than just money. They are people too so they want to know you have their best interests at heart. Show them you’re interested like you would to a friend or date by getting to know them and asking meaningful questions.

Key things to know going into the interview:

  • Mission Statement, Vision, and Values
  • Their history
  • Owners, top management, and if listed the head of your department
  • Latest News/accomplishments (stock price if a corporation)
  • The job description and how you fulfill the requirements
  • How you can be an asset for them

Great Resources to Research Companies:

  • The companies website, especially the About Us section
  • LinkedIn – check out the company’s profile as well as the interviewers. LinkedIn even gives you new hires, promotions, statistics, competitors, and latest news on the company. You can see how you are connected to the company and if you know anyone there all wihtin your own LinkedIn Profile
  • People You Know – as previously mentioned, people you know who are familiar with the company are the best sources of information so use your connections to your advantage
  • Facebook, Twitter – checkout their FB page or follow them on Twitter to see the company’s personal side.
  • Google – Use Google to find out about the company, especially Google News
  • Glassdoor – this is a somewhat new site that hasn’t exploded in popularity yet, but it will soon because it has information concerning interview questions, salary, job postings (via Indeed), as well as other insider information about companies. The site is user generated meaning that most information is user submitted by people who have interviewed or worked there already.

After researching the company, its time to do research on yourself. Taking stock of your qualifications, experiences, and career will greatly increase your effectiveness when it comes to interviewing. The average job seeker sends out dozens of Resumes when looking for jobs in Buffalo and WNY so it’s a good idea to remember which Resume you sent to which employer. This will make it so much easier when they look it over and ask you questions regarding what they find. Other basic information you will need to know about yourself is your strengths, weaknesses, challenges you have faced, and your plan for the next few years.

How to Prepare for the Different Types of Interviews:

The main types of questions you will be asked are Traditional and Behavioral. The Traditional interview is based around basic questions and straightforward answers. The types of questions asked are like the one’s stated previously: such as what are your strengths, where do you see yourself in 5 years, and describe any challenges you faced. A good way to prepare for this interview is to check out our Standard Interview Questions post, write down your answers, and then rehearse with someone else to get feedback. The Behavioral interview is based solely on previous situations you encountered and how you handled them. The employer is trying to figure out how you would handle future situations at their company if they were to hire you.

The best way to prepare for the behavioral questions is to use the SAR method. SAR stands for Situation, Action, and Result. Since the Behavioral interview is based on previous experiences, using this method answers their questions by giving the interviewer what was the situation, what action you took and the result of your actions. In addition, you can get a sense of what questions they’ll be asking by reading the job description to see the type of skills the job will be requiring. This way you’ll be prepared and be able to give concise, well-detailed answers. Remember, the interviewers are reviewing you as a person as well as your qualifications so sounding confident and comfortable is key to having a successful interview.

Practicing is pretty self-explanatory. What works really well is writing down all the answers you have for the SAR method and practice memorizing them. It’s OK if you don’t remember them word for word, just try to get the basic concepts down of each. You can also do some role playing with someone and have them be the interview while you try out your interviewing skills.

Learn how to handle different interviews such as the panel, 1 on 1, & Phone/Video Interviewing posts. For a list of common interview questions check out the Standard Job Interview Questions post.

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