Interviews come in various shapes and sizes. Sometimes, you meet in person--sometimes you’re expected to complete a specific task. Sometimes the questions you get are relevant to your experience, sometimes nothing you’re asked has to do with your professional experiences in logistics and supply chain management. There is no one size fits all answer to interviewing.
The interviewing process is one of the most nerve wracking experiences in everyone’s professional life. Trying to nail an interview is hard, but it doesn’t have to be.
PREPARATION & PRACTICE
1 Do your research
Every company is different. How they present themselves on their website will tell you key details about what they might be looking for. You should also be well acquainted with their products and services before heading in.
2 Talk to others in the field
If you know anyone at the company you’re interviewing for, ask them how their interview went. If not, reach out to people you know already working in the field. Even though every company is different, they may have some insider tips that people expect for your industry.
3 Bring your resume
Yes, they’ve already seen your resume, but they probably won’t have it in front of them. Print out a few copies for your own reference and for handing off to anyone relevant in the company.
4 And your references
You don’t want to be caught empty handed if a recruiter asks you for your references. Have them on hand to look prepared and professional.
5 Go over lots of questions
Find lists of typical—and not so typical—interview questions online. Answer them all when preparing, even if they don’t seem relevant to the job you’re applying for. Questions about travel experience might not seem relevant to a trade job, but you’ll get to know yourself better and will be less thrown off by questions that seem out of left field.Find lists of typical—and not so typical—interview questions online. Answer them all when preparing, even if they don’t seem relevant to the job you’re applying for. Questions about travel experience might not seem relevant to a trade job, but you’ll get to know yourself better and will be less thrown off by questions that seem out of left field.
6 Memorize your resume
Knowing your resume inside and out will make you feel more confident. It will also prove to recruiters that you know what you’re talking about and haven’t been dishonest on your resume.
7 Prepare your talking points
Know exactly what you want to say and what points you think absolutely must be made in the interview. Preparing the relevant points beforehand instead of relying on “on the fly” thinking means you will be confident and collected.
8 And your stories
Trying to give an example of a time you used a certain skill or succeeded in a certain duty is hard off the top of your head. Prepare what stories about your experiences are strongest ahead of time and you won’t be left stammering or rambling on for too long.
9 come up with reasons why you fit every point
If a company needs an administrative assistant that knows how to use certain software, has experience handling files, and can do digital archiving, come up with concrete reasons why you can do all those things. However, don’t lie—if you don’t have relevant experience, emphasize that you can learn, and how.
10 Practice on your own
Sit in front of a mirror and introduce yourself. Focus on what you say to describe to the potential interviewer who you are and your tone. Don’t be afraid to keep practicing—while you don’t want to sound rehearsed, you do want to know what to say.
11 And then with someone else
Once you’re confident on your own, approach someone else you can practice with, preferably someone in the industry. Have them ask questions they remember answering in interviews, and tell them to evaluate you honestly at the end.
12 Update your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is increasingly important in the job search process. Make sure whatever you’ve said on your resume and whatever you want to tell them in the interview matches what’s on your LinkedIn so you look professional and consistent.
13 Get rest
Once you’ve completely prepared, head to bed early. You don’t want to be yawning in an interview, and being tired means you won’t be on your game. It’s better to get a full night’s sleep than it is to stay up late trying to prepare as thoroughly as possible at the last minute.
14 Be ready for different kinds of interviews
While the traditional sit down interview is still a staple, a number of other interview methods do sometimes pop up. One of the most common alternative interview methods is a job test, so be ready for a potential test on your software skills (if you’ve applied for an office job) or a potential case study you need to solve for trades. Even if it doesn’t happen, you’ll feel more confident knowing you’re prepared.
15 Know why you want the job
It’s possible the only reason why you want a job is the salary—but don’t let the company know that so bluntly. Think about why you want this specific job and its duties, and point those out.
16 Bring a notebook
Having something to take notes in makes you look prepared and engaged, which proves to recruiters that you’ll be engaged during the job, too. Taking notes also will help you follow up later.
17 Outline your goals
Have specific career goals in mind? Think you can contribute to this company with them? Clearly outline your goals for the future and how they relate to the company you’re interviewing for.
18 Be honest
It’s very hard to lie to someone’s face—recruiters usually can tell. Even if they can’t, you don’t want to get a job based on false accomplishments, because you might be expected to do things you don’t actually know how to do. Be honest so you and the company find the best fit.
Company & Industry Research
19 Check their social media
Nearly every company has at least one stream of social media. Check out what they’re posting and see if you can make it a relevant interview point. Social media streams can give you a much more intimate look at what a company values and does than their website, so take their Twitter feed and Facebook posts seriously.
20 Look them UP IN sites like Glassdoor
Long paragraphs and industry jargon will trip up anyone trying to skim your resume, which means your resume won’t be given a second consideration. Keep things simple and save the elaborations for the interview—and remember that industry jargon when used even slightly improperly can be a dealbreaker.
21 Memorize the job listing
The company is looking for something specific. Knowing exactly what you applied for and what they want means you can convince them you are what they are looking for.
22 Know key names
Your preliminary research should have told you who the big names in your company are, and if you’re going for an in-person interview, you should know who your recruiter is. Address them by name to prove you know your stuff.
23 Follow up afterward
Email the company immediately after the interview. Outline key points both you and the recruiter made, why you are a good fit for the company, and any other relevant follow up points you want to make. You can send a physical letter in addition to an email, and call as well.
24 Show you’re willing to go the extra mile
If it’s a position that’s relevant, offer to do some work “on spec”—speculative, unpaid test work—for a week so the company can try you out. If you do well, the job is yours, and the company gets to test you—or, more likely, they may simply respect that you were willing to offer. Either way, you will stick out in their mind.
Behavior & Attitude
25 Dress appropriately
See if you can find out the expected dress code of the company you’re interviewing at and dress accordingly. If you can’t find any information, business casual is a safe bet—you’re formal enough to look dressed up, but you won’t be showing them up if they’re not a company that requires formal dress.
26 Be confident
Hold your head up high, make eye contact, and don’t hesitate when introducing yourself. Stay confident in yourself and your skills and the recruiter will see that.
27 Show up early
If your interview is at 10:30, be there for 10:15, and plan for delays. Being early shows you care about the job.
28 Know your expectations
Have your salary and benefits expectations in mind, and make key decisions about exactly what those are. Higher expectations require more experience for companies looking to hire.
29 Shake their hand confidently
It’s small, but it matters. Keep a firm grip and make eye contact.
30 Keep your expression in mind
If you look upset, you’re not going to look good. Make sure you look alert and approachable.
31 Practice good posture
Good posture is another small detail that really matters. Sit up straight and keep your body language open and inviting.
32 Present your strengths concretely
In your prep work, you thought up and memorized examples and stories about your experiences and skills. Use them now instead of simply listing off what you’re good at with no qualification.
33 Present your weaknesses smartly
Questions about your greatest weakness can feel like a trap. Answers about being too organized or anything else attempting to present a strength as a weakness are going to fall flat—recruiters can see right through those. Instead, pick a skill that isn’t inherently vital to the job you’re applying to and explain how you’ve worked to counteract that weakness to look professional and competent.
34 Emphasize the right things
Not every job needs you to say the same things. An office job will need software and organizational skills pointed out more than a mechanic, and a mechanic will need hands on experience and training pointed out more than an office administrator.
35 Be concise, but not too concise
Don’t ramble on about yourself or your experiences—you’ll lose the attention of whoever you’re talking to. However, don’t be too brief, either. One word answers and very short sentences will work against you as you don’t give the recruiter enough information to consider you.
36 Don’t try to be informal (unless they are)
Job interviews are professional meetings where you and a recruiter jointly try to decide if you’re the right fit for the position. They’re not the place for casual conversation and informal addresses unless the tone the interviewer has set is clearly and concretely casual and informal. Don’t be a robot, but do remember why you’re there.
37 Stay calm
Interviews are nerve wracking. Try to stay calm during the interview and leave the nerves for later. If you need something to distract yourself when the nerves act up in the interview, bring a water bottle you can sip.
38 Don’t rush through it
Slow down, don’t talk too fast, and don’t interrupt the recruiter. Take your time and give the interview the care and thought it needs.
39 Avoid controversial topics
Politics, religion, and scandals in the news are not good topics for interviews, even for small talk before and after. Through your research you should already know if the company’s overall values align with your own, so you have no reason to ask the recruiter’s opinion, nor do you have reason to bring up a topic that may tank the interview.