Everyone knows the most important thing to do before an interview is to learn about the company you’re hoping to be hired by. As Angela Dorn, chief legal officer at Single Stop USA says, “The first thing we look for is proof that the candidate is dedicated to our work, and not just looking for a job.”
So here are six foolproof rules for making an outstanding impression during an interview.
1. Don’t leave the house without doing your homework!
Find out everything you can about the company – not just what they make or do, but what their values are, whether they’re invested in the things you care about, from parity to sustainable development. Because they’re going to ask you why you want to work for them, and if you show up without having done your research, they’ll know. Pro tip: just before your interview, check the company’s news feed to see if there’s anything timely you can bring into the conversation. Nothing shows you’re interested like knowing the name of their newly-appointed CTO or that their newest product just launched.
2. Mine the company’s social media.
This is an incomparable source for finding out what the company’s people are talking about, which issues are trending, and what the company’s dress code is like. Check their Facebook page, their Twitter feed, and all their social media for hints about what to say, and even what to wear; if the little black dress or three-piece suit you were planning on wearing is too conservative for their culture, you’ll know ahead of time. Arriving at your interview “dressed for the part” is a sure-fire way to impress.
3. Use your professional network to find current employees and ask them for advice.
If you don’t have a direct contact, perhaps one of your contacts knows someone at the company you’re interviewing for. Try to message or even chat with that person to get information about the interview process, what the workplace ambience is like, and maybe get some pointers on what the HR department particularly appreciates from job candidates.
4. Visit sites like Glassdoor to see company ratings, reviews and salary levels as reported by current and former employees.
This will give you insight into employee perceptions of job satisfaction, career mobility, management efffectiveness, and interestingly, interview questions, as well as interview reviews and results. Knowing these things ahead of time will help you be ready for the eventual tricky question – and for salary negotiation.
5. Prepare a few pertinent questions about the company.
Because every interviewer is going to ask, “Do you have any questions?” Your chances of getting the job will plummet if you can’t think of a single one. It will look like you’re either baffled or not all that interested in the job. Come on – what do you want to know that the interviewer hasn’t told you? Good questions Forbes suggests you ask include “How would you describe the company’s culture and leadership philosophy?” “What is the typical career trajectory for a person in this position?” “Can you show me some examples of projects that I’d be working on?” Of course, there are certain questions you obviously should never ask, such as “Do you do backgroud checks?”
Yes, breathe. Inhale, exhale, picture a sailboat skimming across a placid lake, close your eyes for a second, count to 10, whatever works for you. You can also use breathing to help you answer interview questions better: by taking a deep breath before you answer, you can give yourself a little time to think while calming yourself down. And remember to relax your body! It will automatically relax your mind.