No matter what type of interview (competency, behavioral, skype ect) you’re about to go into, you always have a general idea of what’s about to happen. Simplifying the stages of an interview can help you put things in perspective & make preparing easier.
The 3 stages of interviews are before the interview, during the interview & after the interview.
While this may seem basic, preparing for each of these stages individually can give you the upper hand and help your interview preparation be more effective.
Before the interview
Preparing yourself for this stage starts with research. Make sure you know your stuff about the company you’ll be interviewing at. You should be able to answer basic questions like what do they do, what their best product is (if applicable), do you understand the position you’re interview is for ect.
Make sure you bring your resume and have more than one copy. If you’re bringing any other materials make sure you have them neatly organized in a folder.
Knowing exactly where you’ll be going before the interview is an extremely underrated preparation point. Plan out your route and give yourself plenty of time to leave. Employers don’t want to hear about traffic, this is why you’re planning out your route and giving yourself plenty of time to leave.
Once you’re about to enter the building, turn your phone off. Vibrate can still be noisy especially during a silent moment during an interview.
During the interview
Being successful during this stage comes from a combination of factors. Keep the following in mind for during the interview:
People like other people that are confident enough not to have to prove it every second. Maintain eye contact, give firm handshakes but most importantly you need to smile.
The first impression you want to give off should be one of a person with good energy.
Almost every interviewer will ask you to tell them about yourself. Make sure you’re prepared for this question; lackluster answers here don’t look good since it’s such a basic question.
For this question you’ll want to focus on the personality traits that would make you a good fit for the job. Give examples of times you showed or developed these personality traits.
For example, a person interviewing for a manger position would want talk about how they are a detailed oriented person that promotes teamwork and communication. Then follow up with an example about the time they led a team.
Avoid negative impressions
Even if you are asked a negative question, always avoid taking the bait. Never talk about former co workers or bosses in a negative way. If you are explaining past failures always acknowledge your role in the failure. Even if your boss or coworkers weren’t helpful, no one wants to hear you throw people under the bus.
If you have to ask this question, wait until at least halfway or at the end of the interview to ask. This can be a sensitive question if not asked properly.
Make sure you do your research regarding what your salary should look like and be armed with facts if you are hoping to negotiate.
After the interview
Always, always, always send a thank you letter. Even if you don’t think the interview went well. Remember the format (handwritten or email & what you say) depends on the company you interviewed with.
Also stay away from social media after your interview. Employers always check your social profiles, there’s no need to put your business out to the public. This raises red flags for employers.
By breaking down interviews in to these 3 sections you can make your preparation less stressful. Being ready for key parts of the interview makes the rest of it flow easier. Keep these sections in mind and act on them during your preparation.