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How to Prepare for an Interview
This week some of the Honey MAP team had the opportunity to assist with Mock Interviews with English at Large.
We were excited to be a part of this new initiative to help participants practice their interview skills. Check out some of our tips on preparing for an interview.
Calm, Cool and Collected
Try as we might, it is impossible to not make snap judgments based on first impressions. The average first impression is formed within a moment of meeting someone and cemented in 7 seconds. You can start out ahead of the game by dressing appropriately, smiling, and maintaining a calm, cool and collected composure. Confidence is key.
Pro-tip: Interview yourself in front of a mirror. It will feel uncomfortable, but it’s a great dress rehearsal to hear yourself responding to potential questions. Preparation will help relieve your anxiety, and often, if you’ve prepared ahead of time you can actually steer the conversation to follow suit in the actual meeting.
Why Are You Here?
I have interviewed more than one candidate who have had to ask me to remind them what job they are interviewing for. This is almost a definite indication that you will not get the job. Employers want to work with someone who wants to work with them. Do your research ahead of time, go on the company website and learn the history, the culture, and read the bios of the CEO and those in leadership. When you are asked why you want to work at that company, make your answer specific to that company.
Pro-tip: It’s important to have 2-3 questions prepared for your interviewer. Try to have one about the job/role, one about the company and one about the company’s culture. Culture is often overlooked but very important. Asking ahead of time will help both you and your employer gauge if you’re a good fit (think: 9-5 vs. around the clock, casual vs. formal, relaxed vs. high stress, etc).
Who Are You?
Sell yourself. Try to tailor your skills to the job description you are applying for. If you’re applying for the role of Art Director you may want to communicate that you have excellent big-picture vision. However if you’re applying for a proofing role, you may choose to accentuate your penchant for good grammar and eye for details.
Pro-tip: When asked to describe yourself, try to tie your entire description into your professional role. Save your favorite Starbucks drink and zodiac sign for your next date.
A conference speaker once advised an audience of college seniors to be remarkable whenever they are networking professionally. This is excellent advice. Employers often wait to hire until they are in desperate need of help, which means they are already over-loaded and hiring can often be at the high end of importance but low end of priority. Use every interaction as an opportunity to stand out. This doesn’t mean dancing on the VP’s desk, but try to establish a personal connection with your interviewer. Ask good questions. In other words, be someone worth remarking about.
Pro-tip: Questions are an excellent way to stand out apart from the sometimes unavoidable run-of-the-mill interview responses. In addition to researching the company ahead of time, try to research your interviewer. You may find you have the same Alma Mater or a similar hobby. Finding those connections can be a great way to facilitate fluid conversation.
Lastly, be yourself. It’s better to know in the interview rather than down the line whether you are truly a good fit for the company. You need to interview them as much as they need to interview you. Relieve some of the burden of needing to impress by making it a mutual conversation.
Did You Know?
Honey MAP offers resume and LinkedIn review, and interview coaching. If you’d like help preparing, we’re here for you.