How to: Realistically Prepare for an Interview
Preparing for an interview can seem redundant – what could possibly be so hard about talking about yourself? But you might not realize, is that the way you answer even the most basic questions can make or break your interview. While every interview is different, we always recommend using a few best practices to ensure a positive experience.
Figure out why you want to work there
Doing your research is so important to an interview. It goes way beyond reading the first result on Google when you search your prospective employer. You should take the time to really get to know the product or service the company provides, the main objectives of the team you’re hoping to be a part of, and what the culture really looks like there.
Check out what their company culture looks like by searching for employee reviews on Glassdoor. This will give you some insight on whether or not it’s really a place you can see yourself frequenting 5 days a week! Take a look at leaders within the organization on social media and your interviewer’s LinkedIn page to find out what’s going on within the organization. These are all great ways to see what their values are and it will give you additional talking points during your interview.
Have real-life examples ready to go
Don’t ever just wing your interview. You’ll leave feeling like you didn’t express some of your biggest accomplishments and responsibilities. Make sure to have the main points you want to share in the back of your head. We like to recommend using the STAR Method (Situation – Task – Action – Result) when it comes to answering questions based on behavior or experience. Create a genuine back and forth conversation with an interviewer by telling a story that conveys why you are going to be a fit for the job. For example, if you’re asked, “how would you stay organized in this role?” you can answer in one of two ways:
- I would create a to-do list every day; OR
- My current role requires heavy organization. I like to color-coordinate my calendar, assign priority levels, and keep my manual to-do’s nearby throughout the day. This has helped to keep me on track throughout any given day.
The difference here is that #1 provides a hypothetical task that you may or may not actually do when you start the job. #2 says you’ve done this before, had success, and will do it again! Start to think about other questions you’ve been asked in multiple interviews and see if you can apply this method.
Talk about yourself positively, but stay humble
Everyone loves a confident candidate. But there is a fine line between confidence and coming off as though this job is way beneath your skill-set. Go into your interview ready to show that you understand what the role is, why you’re passionate about the mission, and how this is going to be an exciting challenge for you!
You might hear a question like, “What are your weaknesses?” Interviewers aren’t going to want to hear that you think you’re perfect and need zero improvement. Identify an area of improvement beforehand and what you might do to help this. Of course, make sure this weakness isn’t something that will directly impact your productivity in the role you are applying for. You’re also going to want to have great backup for both your positives and negatives, so always remember to give specific examples.
Prepare for your interview by coming up with some qualities that make you unique or give you an extra edge in the candidate pool. Do not, however, suggest you speak another language fluently when you really only took a beginner level Spanish class in high school (one time). You never know who might be interviewing you and how they will want to test you. If you are on the fence about including something in your resume or discussing it during your interview, ask your Recruiter for some additional advice!
Stay calm, cool, and collected
Panicking before an interview is never going to translate well. There will always be times where you might stumble over your words or draw a blank but don’t overthink every part of how the interview is going to transpire. Personality is a huge part of acing in an interview, so you probably shouldn’t practice how to say “hello” or any part of your experience too many times or you’ll sound robotic and scripted. This is the sort of confidence you want to convey!
Put together some questions
Every interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” at the end of an interview. A lot of us give a typical, “Nope, I think you’ve covered just about everything!” But use this time to show off that research you did on the company. Ask about culture, how to be successful in the role, or something about their background that you happened to catch on their LinkedIn. This comes off as inquisitive as well as relate-able!
Ask your Recruiter for help!
Your RTA Recruiter is always there to help you prep for an interview. Make sure you’re asking them questions and having a constructive conversation surrounding your responses to some of the more common questions. Even if those questions never come up in your interview, you’ll feel much more confident and prepared going in. We want to make sure you’re totally ready for your interview before heading in.