Finding a job is a nerve-wracking experience across the board. But nothing gets the hands shaking or the stomach churning like an interview.
Unless you’re a trial lawyer, a top-flight athlete or a professional performer, very few experiences in life place so much meaning on how you deliver in a live setting. That might be how LeBron James lives his life, but he gets paid millions of dollars to do it.
There is a way to cut the tension and raise the chances you’ll perform well, and it’s the same tactic King James uses: preparation. Just like LeBron lifts weights, game plans and practices with his teammates, you can take steps ahead of the interview to be ready for everything that comes your way.
Here are a few things you can do before the interview to improve your chances:
Research the Company
Don’t go into a situation blind. Find out as much as you can about the company you are interviewing for. Go online and check the company website; then surf around a bit. Find reviews on sites like Glassdoor and any mentions of the company in the press.
First, this will allow you to anticipate what questions they will likely ask. You’ll be able to get an idea of the company’s focus and its general culture.
Second, you can shape your answers based on their expectations. Do they make a big deal about teamwork? Steer answers toward your team-building skills. Do they brag about their industry-leading technology? Emphasize your own cred as an early adopter.
Breakdown the Job Description
You’re gnawing at your fingernails and pacing around the house worrying about what you’ll get asked at your interview. Meanwhile, the company has issued you a cheat sheet – the job posting.
The same post that prompted you to send your resume in the first place has a lot of clues about what the company is looking for in an employee. Go through it point by point. Take notes. Match each item in the job description to a skill or experience you have.
Be specific. Think of individual anecdotes if you can, anticipating queries like “tell me a specific time you…” or “what in your experience has prepared you for…”
Plan Your Own Questions
Interviews are two-way streets. The company wants to learn about you, but you should try to learn as much as you can about the company.
Make sure you have a list of questions ready for the end of the interview, that way you’re not panicked when they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” (Just don’t ask them about compensation or vacation days.)
Use your research to make the questions specific. The goal here is to show you cared enough to do the research and you are a deep enough thinker to take that information a step further.
Practice Makes Perfect
Most interviews follow a predictable pattern. Every company will throw in a few unique (or at least unusual) questions. But most of the interview will be stocked with standard stuff.
Tell us your weaknesses; tell us about a time you had a conflict at work and how you resolved it … you know the drill.
Practice your answers. We mean out loud. Say the full answers as if you were talking to an interviewer. Work on the responses … craft the answers to maximize the effect. This is like developing muscle memory or like practicing a play. Then when the questions come, you’ll come off as polished and confident.
Another trick you can learn from LeBron? He has coaches, trainers, nutritionists and other professionals on his side, helping him improve his performance. Do the same thing. By partnering with a staffing firm, you get expert advice in interview prep and they help steer you to the right positions in the first place.
DHR is a leader in staffing – just the team you need on your sideline to help your career advance. Contact us today to find out more.