How to Prepare For an Interview
Yes, this includes the interviewer too
I had one “bad” phone interview that happened a few years ago. Funny enough, it had nothing to do with me. It actually had a lot to do with the person who interviewed me.
My interviewer was late for our phone call and they called me by the wrong name twice. They did a LinkedIn search on me while I was on the phone with them and still called me by the wrong name (lol…). They also had no clue what internship I was applying for even though they claimed that they had my application in front of them. There was no flow to the conversation and there were multiple awkward silences where I thought I lost them on the phone.
I don’t want to go into details because it’s a long story. So here’s a quick breakdown of what basically happened: I gave this person the benefit of the doubt and accepted their apology for calling me by the wrong name. I eventually had tension with them and I started to question their professionalism. Once the interview was over, I declined further communication with the company.
I know it wasn’t the most professional move on my end however, I knew my worth as a potential intern and I trusted my gut feeling. As time went on, I learned how to handle a situation like this better. This interesting experience taught me a lot about job interviews.
Because of this experience, I’m sharing my personal tips on how to prepare for an interview whether you’re the interviewer or interviewee.
Disclaimer: I’m sharing my personal experiences and knowledge from an interview course I took in college. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you should prepare for when you have a job interview.
1. Do Your Research In Advance
I know, the research portion before a job interview sucks. However, it needs to be done because chances are one of the interview questions will be about the company. To be honest, you should have done some research on the company before you applied for the job. You shouldn’t apply for a job if you don’t know the basic idea on what the company has to offer.
If you’re the one being interviewed, here’s what I recommend that you should do at least before the interview:
- Know the Company’s Name (*shocker*)
- Read the Company’s Mission Statement
- Learn some interesting facts about the company then have a reason why those individual facts sparked your interest or why it aligns to your career goals.
If you’re the interviewer, do at least the following research before the interview:
- Know the Interviewee’s Name (Shocker 2.0…)
- What job position and department are they applying for? It’s good to have an idea just so you know what questions to ask them in the interview.
- If needed, quickly review their LinkedIn account and portfolio.
2. Questions Preparation
I recommend reviewing commonly asked questions 1–2 days before the big day. Remember, an interview is simply just a conversation about you, the company, and why you two are the best fit for each other.
If you’re the interviewee, prepare at least these common questions:
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What about [company’s name] sparked your interest?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If you’re the interviewer, at least do the following things:
- What kind of questions are you planning to ask?
- Are you asking open ended or closed ended questions? Are you doing a combination of both?
- Are you writing your questions out in advance?
- Are you following a list of questions that the company wrote in advance?
- Are you going with the flow with the conversation and then asking some questions that feels right in the moment?
3. Time Is Valuable
I get it, sometimes time is out of your hands and you’re stuck in a company meeting for an extra 15 minutes. Other times, you might be at your current job and you couldn’t answer your phone in time because you had to work with a customer.
There are many scenarios that can be justified, however it’s important that you try to be on time for your interview. Whether you’re the interviewer or interviewee, please be courteous of other people’s time. If you happen to be late, just apologize and proceed with the interview.
Also, I’m aware that some companies purposely do these things to test their future employee(s). I’ve heard it all before and I’ve actually been put to the test before. However, I’m not here to justify that because every company and situation is different.
All I’m saying is be courteous of other people’s time because you might lose one (potential) employee or lose one shot at a (potential) job because you didn’t take time into consideration. It doesn’t always have to be that way but it can turn out that way.
- Do your research because you should know a little bit about each other before the interview.
- If you’re the interviewer, make sure you know your questions in advance or at least the style of interview you want to do.
- If you’re the interviewee, practice some commonly asked questions and have some ideal answers prepared for the interview.
- Remember that time is valuable and you might miss out on some really good opportunities and people because you didn’t take time into consideration. Good luck!