As a recruiter, I’ve done countless interviews over the years. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that interview prep doesn’t need to be complicated.
If you only do one thing, do this
Research the company and the person you’re talking to before you meet with them.
That’s it. Nothing too complicated. Then reference that research in your answers. Just remember, the ‘why’ part of your answers is key. Your ‘why’ can make or break your chances of moving forward with the second interview and be the difference-maker between being hired and being one of many still looking for work. Don’t believe me? Here are a couple of stats that may help convince you…
- 33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone.
- Having little to no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake made during interviews.
The most important interview question is also often one of the first
My first question to candidates is always the same: What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here? This seemingly straightforward question has stumped hundreds of candidates that were simply not prepared or didn’t care enough to do their homework.
My advice? Don’t try to sweet-talk me or give me a long-winded answer that circles everything and nothing. If you have trouble with this question, the interview is over in my mind. A stumble here tells me you were probably applying to every job that had the title of your previous one, and you lucked into an interview. You thought you could talk yourself into a position with little to no effort.
Now there’s nothing we value more than someone who has done their research about the company, its key people, the product or solution being offered, the market, the company’s news and how their solution helps solve a client’s problem.
A little outside research only strengthens your candidacy
Want to really impress me? A little extra effort goes a long way. Do some additional research to see if we have an interest in common, have ever worked or lived in the same city before, went to the same school or have any other mutual connections. That way, you can try to create a bond between us from the get-go.
You should also make a list of questions to ask during the interview. I welcome a genuine conversation with a candidate where they ask me questions during the actual interview. Having questions prepared shows me that they get what we do, what we sell and that they’re serious about making sure it is a fit for them as much as it is for us.
Hiring managers put A LOT of value in this, and so should you.