Top 7 Must-do's During a Job Interview
Over the past 25 years, Net Friends has posted hundreds of job openings and interviewed thousands of candidates interested in working at our IT company. Through this experience, we have determined that basic interviewing skills truly do establish a strong introduction and help us gauge a candidate’s likelihood for success at our company. We’ve gathered some fundamental interviewing tips below:
Research the Company and Position
First, you should spend time researching the company to be prepared for your job interview. Utilize the knowledge you gain to prove that you are qualified and interested in the position. It is much easier to align your experiences if you can identify commonalities between the company’s story and your own work history or values. You can highlight pertinent data when you do your research on the organization and get an understanding of its accomplishments and milestones. You may be able to find this information on their company webpage, Glassdoor, or other job posting sites. Pro-tip: Check out the blog to read more recent articles, press releases, notable announcements, and more.
Top 5 Topics to Research
- Products and Services
- Philanthropies or Volunteer Work
- Company Culture
- Desired Skills and Qualifications
Perfect Answering "Tell me about yourself."
Almost every interview will target this question or a slight variation of it. Because it is so open-ended, the common interview question "tell me about yourself" can make you feel anxious. This question is essentially your elevator pitch. It's crucial to keep in mind that companies ask this question to determine how well you would fit into a certain function at the company.
This question is a fantastic chance for you to show that you can interact with others, speak clearly and effectively, and conduct yourself professionally. A simple format that can help you construct your answer is to focus on hitting 3 periods of time: past, present, and future. When wrapping up your pitch, it is a good opportunity to explain why you’re here (applying for this role).
Practice your answers to common interview questions
The key to acing an interview is preparation, so it's critical to research common interview questions beforehand so that you can arrive at the interview prepared with responses. Practicing your responses aloud is an efficient approach to becoming interview ready. You can record yourself during a mock meeting on zoom or ask a friend to assist you through the questions and answers. They can provide constructive feedback to help you refine your message and practice brevity for your delivery. If you tend towards shorter answers, they can also ask clarifying questions to help you deliver fuller responses. As you become more familiar with your talking points, your confidence will grow.
Avoid slandering former employers
While part of the reason you're looking for a new job may be due to a negative work experience, don’t talk negatively about past employers. Employers seek out those who can solve problems under challenging circumstances. Instead of focusing on the negatives, discuss what you've learned from the experience, what you're looking for in a new employer, and what you want to do next. You can deliver a positive message around a negative experience simply by listing what you’ve learned and how it will inform your future experiences.
Use the STAR method when telling work stories
Use the STAR approach to flex your storytelling abilities with a clear Situation, Task, Action, and Result in case you are asked about instances in the past when you applied a certain ability. This method helps break down your accomplishments into clear, interview-ready answers.
Situation - When responding to STAR interview questions, you should first describe a challenge or obstacle you overcame. You can discuss the circumstances surrounding the incident and the other parties involved.
Task - Your part in this scenario is further described in the "Task" section of a STAR answer. In reaction to the circumstance, what were you supposed to do? Who issued this assignment? What outcome was anticipated when this task was completed?
Action - The "Action" stage of a STAR answer describes your approach to the assignment and the steps you took to address the issue raised in the "Situation" stage.
Result - The "Results" section of a STAR answer should describe how your actions turned out. Was the initial issue fixed? What was the result? There can be multiple layers to the outcome that are worth highlighting, including the business benefits, interpersonal results, and new standards implemented.
Prepare three questions to ask the interviewer
Prepare insightful, in-depth questions to ask the interviewer. Keep in mind that an interview is a two-way conversation. Asking questions can help you stand out from the competition by expressing your interest in the position and the company. It will also help you decide if this is the opportunity or company you want to pursue. At Net Friends, we often see a direct correlation between a candidate’s ability to ask good questions during the interview and their innate curiosity, creativity, and resourcefulness once hired into a role.
Always Follow Up
During the interview process, get the contact information for each interviewer, so you can send each person a personalized thank-you email afterward. It is best to send your follow-up emails the same day so that you are fresh in the interviewer's mind. You can include notes you took during the conversations to ensure that each email stands out from the others. Not only does this form a line of communication between you and your potential future employer, but it also shows that you are appreciative of the interview opportunity regardless of the outcome.
Your interviewer's perception of you may be more important than your actual qualifications. Along with your experience and education, your composure, attitude, fundamental social skills, and communication abilities are all assessed and often compared to other candidates in the running. Ultimately, a strong two-way interview will help both you and your potential employer determine whether this is the best match. The secret is to plan ahead.
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