It’s interview day! We've got you covered—here are some ways to make sure you bring your A-game.
Know Your Audience
Take an in-depth look at what the company is currently working to solve and what are the challenges it’s facing. Look beyond the information that the company is pushing out on their websites; read current news releases from the company’s Facebook page and Twitter pages, and, yes, spend some time on LinkedIn on both the company and employee pages. This will help you gain a better understanding of what the larger picture of the company looks like and what the company’s spheres are saying about them.
No matter what role you’re interviewing for—engineering, sales, marketing—find a way to use the product before your first interview (and ideally, a few times). Knowing the product allows you to share how you will be able to provide the optimal customer experience.
Before your interview, create a list of the people you’re meeting with from the company. Learn more about the role they play on the team using their company’s website or LinkedIn and prep some questions that are specific to each interviewer.
Anticipate the Interview Questions
Spend time thinking carefully about what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers will resonate with your interviewers most. Have an answer to “tell me about yourself" ready to go. Remember that the examples you share of these skills and how they can be applied at the company on day 1.
Don't be thrown off by the classic, "What's your biggest weakness?" One foolproof method: Think of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but over the past few years, you've taken on leadership roles and volunteered to run meetings to help you be more comfortable when addressing a crowd. You can easily find lists of common interview questions—but don't prepare by writing out your entire answer; instead, jot down a few notes or bullet points and memorize those and don’t forget to try to quantify (include some numbers, percentages).
It's likely you'll get asked why you're interested in this particular role and company, so make sure you can. (And if you can’t answer this question, you shouldn’t be in the interview!) Consider why you’re interested in the function and identify a couple of key factors that make it a great fit for you and how it aligns with skills, motivation, the right next step for you. Don't just think about how you'll answer certain questions; practice looking in the mirror and answering them out loud. This prep work will help you clarify your thoughts and make you much more comfortable during the interview.
Looking for questions to practice? Try out these questions and tips for your answers
Pack (and Dress) Accordingly
Have PDF digital copies of your resume ready. You never know who you’ll be meeting with, and you want to have your resume ready to go in case you're asked for it. Prep a go-to interview kit for your purse or bag. It should be large enough to hold your everyday essentials, plus your interview musts, such as extra resumes and a notepad, as well as a special emergency kit stocked with what you might need in an unexpected situation (think: Band-Aids, a stain stick, an energy bar, water bottle, an umbrella, and breath mints).
For companies that have a business or business casual dress code, keep your look basic and conservative for the first interview. Whether your interview is in-person, on a video call, wherever; try on your outfit the day before to avoid making last minute adjustments to your look.
Not sure what to wear? Check out these employees speaking about the culture and work at their employer as well as what they are wearing
Get Your Head in the Right Place
Spend time before the interview both rehearsing questions and making sure you know your college year-over-year and early career chronology to date. When you know your story inside and out, it’s much easier to apply examples to just about any interview question.
Come up with a go-to phrase that'll help you avoid dead air if you need time to stall and gather your thoughts. Two strategies that work well are repeating the question thoughtfully before answering or saying (slowly), “Now, that is a great question. I think I would have to say…" Brush up on what certain body language conveys. Be aware of what you’re communicating through your posture and stance—and make sure it’s good. (For example, sitting with your arms and legs crossed sends a message that you are closed-off or feel defensive.) Think your movements through ahead of time so you are not distracted (or distracting) during the interview.
Oh, and lastly get some sleep. This sounds like something your parents or friends may tell you, but there are few things that will throw you off your game like sleep deprivation.