So, you’ve gotten an interview – CONGRATULATIONS!  That’s not an easy thing to do.  At a minimum, it means your cover letter and resume did their jobs, and it means someone already believes you are qualified for the job.  How cool is that?  Now it’s all about FIT.

“Fit,” when it comes to interviews, means the employer needs to find out more about you and your background.  You may think you’re anxious about the interview, but believe me, they are just as anxious as you are.  The hiring manager can’t blow this – you’ve got to actually be able to do what you say you can do (or be very quickly trainable).  You’ve also got to show that you can be integrated to the existing structure – the personalities, the skill sets, the work culture, the tempo, the style.  If it’s not a good fit, everyone including you will be miserable and the hiring manager will look like a jerk.

That’s why preparation for the interview is so important.  Do you want to be job hunting again in a couple of months?  Then fit, not just landing a job, should be important to you too.  If you do these seven things ahead of time, you’ll feel much more confident and capable, and you’ll give yourself the very best shot at getting a job someplace where you can thrive.

  1. Do your research – about the company, the people, and the job itself. This means connecting with actual people within the company ahead of time to learn what you can!
  2. Prepare for behavioral questions – like “Can you tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker and how you handled it?” Have some stories in your back pocket about times when you were proud of yourself and your work.
  3. Know the key points you want to make about yourself – What skills do you bring to the table? What are you known for. For example, “I’m a quick learner, I have a killer work ethic, I’m very good at technical issues.” These are things you want to weave into your responses.
  4. Practice responding to questions that make you nervous – Maybe about your lack of a specific requirement, your academic record, a screw-up, etc.
  5. Know what questions YOU have for them – For example, “how would your team describe your management style?”
  6. Know the salary range for the job – The internet is your friend here. Sites like Glassdoor and have great information and adjust for experience and geographic location
  7. Plan ahead – Whether your interview is virtual or in person, plan your schedule, anticipate obstacles (internet connection, traffic, etc.) and lay out everything you need ahead of 48 hours ahead of time.

BONUS: The best thing you can do to calm your nerves is to have your answer to their first question down. What’s their first question? Some version of “Tell Me About Yourself.” Knowing that inside and out will help you get off to a great start!!