How to prepare for a job interview: 6 ways to improve your prep game

Recruiting a new employee is a long, exhausting and costly affair so the companies want to make sure that they’re hiring the right employee. Which types of questions should you prepare for?

We hope this blog post will give you the necessary tools to fully prepare for the job interview that will land you your next job!

Research the company you’re applying to work for

We suggest you do your homework before you meet up with the recruiter or get a call from the hiring manager. When you’ve researched the company and read about their business, you’re already way ahead of the game. Almost nothing’s worse than looking like a question mark when asked: “do you know what our core business is?”. Check the company’s pages about their values, work culture and relevant CSR-material to make sure your values and ethics match.

However, it’s too easy for us to just state “do your homework” and leave it at that – what’s the homework in this case? Read about their business, products, vision, and mission, as well as any blog posts about their day-to-day work. Use your acquired searching skills and scan the web for information on everything and nothing about the company. Even the tiniest detail about where the coffee machine is located might be to your advantage!

The more you know, the better prepared you are - that means knowing who you are meeting too. Ask the recruiter who will be present at the meeting and make sure to research them as well as their role at the company. Find common interests or connections/ friends and make sure to use that information in the interview.

Why do you want to work for the company?

Is there any special reason why you want to work at the specific company? Whether it’s a personal reason that stems from a childhood dream or the company matches your ambitions it’s not actually that important. What’s important is that you have a reason. When you give the recruiter a reason it suggests that you have thought about it, you’ve taken the time to review your desire to work there. If you have no reason at all other than “Well, the pay is good”, you’ll most likely be out of consideration!

A good mental exercise is to brainstorm beforehand; why did you apply for the position in the first place? What attracts you to the company and why do you think the company is the right fit for you – personally and professionally. Being prepared ensures that you will give confident answers to the tough questions!

How much is your salary?

Don’t underestimate the power of money! Money is our bread and butter and sustains our basic life and needs. It’s important that you consider how much you want to be paid. The million-dollar question shouldn’t catch you off-guard; they will most likely ask you about salary expectations during the interview.

Also, consider any (performance) bonuses or benefits, whether it’s a free work phone and/ or computer, a great pensions scheme, free lunch or extra holiday. Everything will be stated in the contract anyway but be sure to ask what is and what’s not part of the package.

Are there any terms or clauses in your contract?

“When can you start?” will be one of the last questions of the interview. Your tongue in cheek answer might be “tomorrow” but in reality, you’ll have to respect the terms of resignation in your contract so make sure you know the terms before answering. Check your current contract for any terms or clauses that may affect your potential new employment. Terms of resignation, length or even competition clauses - some industries have competition clauses that prevent employees from jumping ship to a competitor. Checking everything in writing prevents any embarrassment or annoying stumbles on your way to a new job!

Have you contacted your references?

You’ve probably agreed with at least a couple of people that you will use them as references in future endeavours. Contact them before your interview out of courtesy and inform them that you will forward their contact info to a recruiter or hiring manager. Choose references that can verify tasks and results that are relevant in the job you’re interviewing for.

Details will differ and stories will be different depending on the person telling it. Therefore, be sure your references can verify what you’ve written in your resume and what you have told the recruiter! There’s nothing wrong in agreeing with the reference what they will talk about with the recruiter because it ensures that the same story will be told.

Check your resume and social media again – you might have missed something!

Checking your resume is your way to make sure that you remember the precise summary of your career path. It’s a great way to refresh your memory and you’ll be more likely to remember the specific details when the recruiter asks you about past employment, job tasks and results. In case you catch any typos or errors that might confuse the recruiter, you’ll be prepared and can correct the minor mistake if asked during the interview.

Few master the job interview, but everybody learns from it

The job interview’s main purpose is to identify whether you’re the right person for the job but there are other benefits to it as well – it’s both a frightening and exciting opportunity to learn more about yourself, and that’s an experience you will learn from whether you get the job or not.

Preparation has been this article’s main mantra. It truly is the key to success, so don’t underestimate what you can achieve when fully prepared for the job interview. Whether you lock yourself in a room for 5 hours straight or sit at a café and review your resume is not the main point. There’s not a secret formula on how to ace an interview. Do what you feel is the best preparation for you and you’ll feel ready and be ready for the job interview!

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