If You Don’t Prepare For An Interview You Won’t Get The Job
I have interviewed hundreds if not thousands of people. Most come to the interview dressed up a bit better than their normal hanging-out-at-home clothes. Many even come dressed in business attire. Even though most make at least some effort to look presentable, it is amazing how many do not make their mind presentable. What I mean is really preparing for an interview. I think people don’t prepare because it takes some work and many do not want to put in the effort. That makes those that do really stand out.
So what does preparing for an interview mean? There are two areas that need preparation, 1) knowing how to present yourself and 2) understanding the company. Going into an interview, you should understand your value proposition. What do you bring to this company that is of value to them? First, look at the job posting to get a sense of this. Words such as “smart”, “organized” or “deliberate” might stick out. When you see these words, think through how you have demonstrated those skills in your career, volunteer work, etc. You should then craft answers to show how you demonstrate these skills. That is what your interviewer will be trying to find out about you.
In terms of understanding the company, in this day and age, there is no excuse for not going to the company website to see what is presented to the public. Look at all the web pages to learn about the type of business, what is offered and get a sense of the culture. Don’t stop there, though. Do you have contacts at the company? Quiz them about the company and how it operates. What do they like or dislike? What are current problems that the company is facing? If you don’t know anyone at the company, ask around to see if any of your contacts have information about the company. You should also look at employee review sites like Glassdoor to get a sense of the culture and what employees are saying, both good and bad. If the company is public, there is a wealth of financial information in the company annual reports and other filings. All this intelligence should help you understand the company, its financial health and the culture. In your interview you can refer to this data in your answers and the inevitable “Do you have any questions?” part of the interview.
Yes, preparing for an interview takes time. Whether you spend 30 minutes or 3 hours learning about your potential employer, it is time well spent. You will be able to learn whether the company truly is a good fit for you. You should be able to learn if the job a good match for your skills and interests and whether the company provide the career path that you want. You should also be able to learn if the culture fits your style. You will also be able to show the interviewer that you are very interested in the position and that you put work into preparing for the interview, just as they hope you would do on the job.