There are many well documented tips for giving a successful interview performance: Be on time, dress appropriately, convey interest and enthusiasm, be confident, and many more. What is less understood, except by exceptional job candidates, is that the job interview process can be a forum to be managed primarily by you, the person seeking the job. Taking more control over the interview will showcase your knowledge of the company, your passion, leadership abilities, and your value in being able to immediately make a contribution to your new organization.
How to Master Job Interviews
Included are 3 detailed steps that will make you the master of your future interviews.
Step 1: Research before your Job Interview
Before any job interview, you must research your potential employer and be prepared to offer recommendations for organizational improvement. Surprisingly few applicants invest the time in becoming knowledgeable about an employer’s business. Even fewer understand it well enough to offer potential recommendations for enhancement. While this is easier to do with an employer with which you’re already familiar – say, a former competitor – being able to offer ideas for organizational improvement will demonstrate your level of understanding of their processes and needs.
Remember that your goal in a job interview isn’t simply to show that you’re qualified for a job, but should instead be to prove you’re a good fit for the job. This goes beyond proving that you have the experience necessary, it also shows that you will be able to exceed within the culture and operating structure of the company you’re applying for. If you do research on the company, you can show knowledge of the industry and showcase your ability to make a positive impact in their company.
Step 2: Ask the Right Questions
Be prepared to ask insightful – and if need be, tough – questions during your job interview. Remember that not only should you be a “good fit” for a potential employer; they should be a good fit for you as well. Asking intelligent questions will demonstrate your own level of interest and intelligence, and may reveal some responses that give you guidance as to whether you truly wish to work with this organization. If you’ve been searching for a job for a long time it might be easy to avoid this step since you may feel like any job will suffice, but that could hurt your chances of getting the job. Not asking questions shows a lack of interest in the company which will be picked up on by a potential employer.
Even if you do get the job, not asking questions can hurt you down the line. No one wants to be in a position where they feel uncomfortable with their responsibilities or dislike the culture of the company. If you aren’t a good fit for the company, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of receiving a bad reference the next time you look for a job.
Step 3: Know Your References
One of the biggest steps people miss when preparing your a job interview is relates to their listed references. It is incredibly important to know ahead of time what your key references will say about you to prospective employers. You had better assume that they will contact both your former supervisor and Human Resources contacts at your recent places of employment (and perhaps some of your co-workers as well). If any of your references offer unfavorable commentary about you, it is unlikely you will be re-contacted by potential employers.
Determine beforehand what they will say about you by utilizing a third party reference checking firm such as JobReferences.com, powered by Allison & Taylor, Inc, The Reference Checking Company. If any negative commentary is revealed, you will have recourse to discourage a former employer from continuing to offer such remarks. If you’ve applied to a lot of jobs and haven’t seen much success, this step could be what’s holding you back.
Invest the time to know your potential future employers and prepare yourself for the job interview. You will stand out from other candidates and better ensure that you will be their newest employee.