The Ultimate Interview Guide

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So you applied for a job and have been invited for an interview — congratulations! Now what? You’ll need to prepare, research, and hit it out of the park. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate interview guide to saddle you up for the races!

 

Research the company

The first step in preparing for your interview is to research the company you’re applying to. Which industry are they in? What products or services do they sell? Where do they stand in comparison to their competition? Gather as much information as you can and be knowledgeable about the company’s latest news and updates.

Next, read about the company’s mission, vision, and values. Do they resonate with you? How do they align with your own personal values? Make sure you tie these into the famous question “Why do you want to work for [insert company here]?”

Take some time to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn as well. What is their position in the company? Do you share similar interests or backgrounds? Find similarities that you can mention in the interview to make a connection with them.

 

Prep for interview questions

We all dread hearing “Tell me about yourself”. It’s open-ended, vague, and downright intimidating. Lucky for you, the Braven course prepares you for this moment. When your interviewer utters those four words, it means you have about 60 seconds to deliver your elevator pitch. Open with who you are — name, school, and major. Tell them what you’re interested in and why you’re passionate about it — this should tie to what the company does and what the role is. You want to tailor your pitch to make it relevant to the position you’re applying for. Then share a meaningful experience related to it and explain what it taught you.

Research interview questions for your specific industry and the role you’re interviewing for. (Glassdoor is a great resource for finding questions that previous candidates have encountered.) Prepare answers and be ready to provide real-life examples and stories.

How to Answer the 31 Most Common Interview Questions

 

Dress to impress

Before you even say a word, you’ve made an impression. Your interviewer immediately forms an opinion of you based on what you’re wearing. Is your outfit professional? Is it inappropriate? Does it make a good first impression?

The attire for men and women varies, just like it does for the industry you’re interviewing for. Be sure to look up interview attire for your specific industry and lay out your clothes the night before. A good rule of thumb is to dress for an important meeting, so even if the employees tend to dress casually, that doesn’t mean you wear a t-shirt to the interview. (Leave a copy of your resume and portfolio — if you have one — next to your clothes so you remember to bring them to the interview.)

How to Dress for a Formal or Casual Interview

 

Know your why’s

Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work for this company? Why does the mission resonate with you? Know your answers to these questions before stepping into your interview.

Keep in mind that people want real, genuine answers and don’t want to hear “The job sounds easy” or “Because it pays well”. Your interviewer wants you to make a case for yourself — how can you make a contribution to the company and how are you qualified for this role? Why are you passionate about the company’s mission?

 

Know your strengths and weaknesses

In the Braven course, Fellows learn about their strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand what you excel at and what you need to improve on so that you can demonstrate these during interviews.

Be able to list your strengths and give examples to support each one. Some strengths that employers look for include adaptability, communication, problem solving, initiation, and teamwork.

When an interviewer asks you about your weakness, your answer shouldn’t be “Double Stuf Oreos”. Your interviewer simply wants to know if you’re self-aware. Concentrate on professional traits and stay away from personal ones.

Follow the PAR strategy when providing your answer:

Problem-Action-Result

Explain what your weakness is (problem) and communicate to the interviewer that you’re aware of it. Share the steps (action) you’ve taken to improve and provide examples of how you’ve developed and grown (results). It’s important to show that you’re self-reflective and have learned from your mistakes.

 

Be authentic and show your passion

You can meet all the qualifications. You can have all the right answers. BUT, if you don’t stay authentic and show your passion, you won’t set yourself apart from the competition. It’s easy to let the pressure of “putting on a show” get to you but don’t let it! An interviewer wants to see that you’re genuinely excited about the opportunity. Show them your enthusiasm for the job and share why you’re passionate about the company and its mission.

Feel free to share some of your personal interests and hobbies that you’re passionate about outside of work. These give the interviewer a sense of who you are beyond being a potential employee and tell them if you’ll be a good cultural fit. And who knows, maybe your interviewer will share some of the same hobbies!

 

Ask questions

People love it when you have a list of questions prepared to ask at the end of your interview. Why? It shows that you’re interested, you did your research, and you’re eager to learn. So when your interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?”, make sure you don’t pass that opportunity up! Learn about what your day-to-day responsibilities will be, what challenges you’ll face, and how success is measured in the role. Get an inside scoop on the company culture and find out if there is room for professional development.

Top Questions to Ask in an Interview, According to a Hiring Manager

 

Send a thank you email

Always thank someone for their time. Get the interviewer’s contact information before the end of the interview so you can send them a polite email thanking them for their time, a wonderful conversation, and for answering your questions. If you forget to mention something in the interview, add it to the email. Mention specific topics from the interview that resonated with you to make that connection. And if you want, send them a personalized invite on LinkedIn!

 

Follow up

It’s common to not receive an immediate response after an interview. Don’t fret — hiring is a process that takes time. Give the company a chance to review their notes and finish meeting with other candidates. Try checking in a week or two after if you still haven’t heard back.

How to Follow Up After an Interview

 

Remember that preparation and research are key when it comes to acing that interview! But one important thing to remember is your worth. Know not only what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company. Be confident and know that you have a lot to offer! Now go ace that job interview.