With 2020 (thankfully) behind us and the holiday season over, the start of a fresh new year is upon us. Given the mayhem that last year brought about, perhaps the new year has warranted a career change for you. You have been busy applying for new opportunities, perfecting cover letters, and tapping into your professional network to strengthen relationships and build new connections. Finally, the time has come— you have been invited to interview for your dream job!
Now what? The thought of interviewing for a new role can be daunting, but with proper preparation, you can knock the socks off your interviewer. In today’s largely remote work environment, it is likely that you may be invited to interview virtually. So how can you set yourself up for success for a virtual interview? Before you dial into that video call, take into consideration some of our tried-and-true tips and best practices for nailing your interview:
- Ensure that your equipment is working properly, and that you have access to the proper video-conferencing platform (Zoom, Skype, WebEx, etc.). Keep in mind that you may need to download a program or create an account beforehand. It can also help to test out your video and audio with a friend prior to the interview.
- Pay attention to details. Although you may be interviewing via Zoom, treat the situation as if you were attending an in-person interview. Arrive early, opt for business professional attire, and ensure that your environment is clean, presentable, and free of potential disruptions.
- Familiarize yourself not only with the company and its mission, but also with the interviewer(s). Be sure to learn the names of the individuals who will conduct the interview and find them on LinkedIn. You may discover a point of similarity; for example, perhaps you and the interviewer attended the same college, and you can use this information to your advantage in building a strong rapport.
- Know what YOU bring to the table. As excited as you are about this potential opportunity to start a great new career, you must showcase to the employer why they should be excited to hire you. Be able to articulate how your skillsets and experience relate to the company’s current needs, as well as how you can support them in achieving their short and long-term organizational goals.
- Come prepared with specific examples of relevant projects you have completed and results you have achieved. If possible, provide numbers and data to back up your accomplishments.
“What Should I Avoid?”
Just as there are numerous actions you can take to increase your chances of interview success, there are a slew of common mistakes to avoid at all costs if you wish to land a spot on the interviewer’s short list. The good news is, all are easily avoidable if you are well-prepared.
- Running late. Arriving to the interview in a timely manner is your first opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your potential employer. Better yet, arrive several minutes early if possible.
- Being unfamiliar with your resume. You should be prepared to speak to all the information on your resume, as you may be asked to elaborate on any of its content. Therefore, it is vital that your resume is accurate, updated, and free of any exaggerations of your accomplishments. Know your resume inside and out!
- Lack of preparation. We all know the phrase “Do your homework,” but what does it mean? In the case of an interview, it means that you must demonstrate that you have researched the company beyond the “About Us” page of their website. According to Glassdoor, learning about the company’s culture, core values, leadership & key players, and news or recent events is critical in boosting your chances of a successful interview.
- Speaking poorly of a previous employer. Be cautious of your phrasing when detailing why you parted ways with a former employer. Avoid painting your former boss in a negative light; keep your responses truthful but concise if asked why you resigned or were let go from a previous role.
- Neglecting to thank your interviewer. Sending an email to thank the interviewer for their time is a simple but crucial way to leave your potential employer with a positive impression, and it can help to set you apart from the competition. A thank-you email also provides you with the opportunity to reiterate your qualifications and cite examples of your work experience that position you as a strong candidate for the company’s needs.
Interviews can often be nerve-wracking, but with proper preparation, you can greatly improve your chances of impressing the employer and landing an exciting new career. Now, go out and conquer the new year!
What are some of your go-to interview tips and tricks that you have found to be successful? Feel free to share yours with us!