In case you haven’t heard, we are absolutely in a candidate’s market. More companies are hiring, and are looking for more professionals than at any point in recent history.
You probably already knew this — in fact, you’re most likely getting messages from recruiters pretty frequently. With so many amazing opportunities out there with excellent companies, it’s certainly very exciting!
Don’t get too far ahead
It’s important to realize, though, that even though your skills and background are in demand, employers still need to make careful hiring decisions. Confidence in a candidate’s market is one thing, but taking it a bit too far — by not preparing for job interviews — could end up costing you a great job opportunity.
These tips can help you prepare for your next job interviews:
1. Do your homework on the company.
We hear from clients all the time who were disappointed to easily recognize those candidates who did not research the company before their job interviews. While you don’t need to memorize company milestones, a general understanding of what the company does, how long they’ve been in business and especially any recent headlines goes a long way.
Think about it this way — regardless of your role, an attention to detail is important. If you don’t put forth the effort to understand the company before you get the job, it tells the interviewer that you may not focus on important details once you’re ON the job!
Plus, many interviewers feel that a lack of research into the company signifies a lack of interest. They may question whether or not you really want the job.
Google News (search for the company name), Wikipedia and LinkedIn are all good places to visit for information. Taking 20 minutes or so to do some research on a company before your interview can make a big impact. If you’re working with a recruiting firm (like us!), we’ll also provide you with some background information to help you prepare.
2. Reflect on growth opportunities and specific situations at work.
Today’s interviewers ask many behavioral questions, rather than focusing solely on skill sets. They want to know how you will react in specific situations that could arise in the position. To help prepare for your job interviews and avoid long pauses, take some time to reflect on key situations and growth opportunities you’ve found in the last year or so.
Some common behavioral questions you may hear during an interview include:
- Tell me about a difficult situation you encountered recently. How did you deal with it?
- When was the last time you faced a conflict with a colleague? How did you resolve it?
- What was your biggest mistake at work in the past year? How did you react?
- Where are some areas you want to improve and develop in the next year?
While you don’t want your responses to sound rehearsed, thinking critically about your experience can help you become comfortable answering these types of questions in an interview. Rather than thinking of interviews as Q&A sessions, it can also help to think of them as simply conversations or meetings. When you expect the ebb and flow of a conversation, answering thoughtful questions like this can feel less like an inquisition!
3. Always, always have questions.
You know the end of an interview is coming when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?”
It is so tempting to answer “No” and get out of there, isn’t it? I mean, interviews are stressful, even when you’re confident!
This advice is pretty timeliness, but it bears repeating. Because in the past, simply having questions to ask helped interviewers “check a box,” so to speak.
But job interviews today have evolved. Remember, they’re seen as conversations much more than question and answer sessions. That means your questions should be more thorough than “What are your expectations for the rest of this process? Or, what hours do your employees typically work?”
To impress interviewers today and stand out for the right reasons, prepare and ask thoughtful questions at this stage of the process. Questions that demonstrate your interest in the company while also showing you intend to thrive in the role. Here are some starters — feel free to build off these!
- How will my success in this role be measured?
- What accomplishments will be expected in this role during the first 90 days?
- What qualities are the most important in someone for them to thrive in this role?
- Can you tell me about my potential colleagues on the team? What are their strengths?
The little details matter during interviews.
Of course, standard advice like eye contact, shaking hands and being polite to everyone you meet are still essential as well. What’s most important is that you take interviews seriously, and view them as incredible opportunities for you to shine in order to take your career to the next level. You’ve got this!
And speaking of careers, if you’re looking for a job that helps you reach your goals, check out our job board. Our recruiters are here to offer advice and help you find the right job for your background and goals. Have a question? Shoot us a message – we’re here to help!