Preparing for Your Dream Job: Interview Prep 101

You’ve searched, you’ve applied, and finally, you are scheduled to interview.  How do you prepare for an interview with a recruiter or an executive search firm that you’ve never met and a company that you know little about?  Having a nice balance of knowledge and curiosity allows you to shine during your interview process.  Here’s how:

1)  Start with the company website but please don’t end there.  The company website can be full of historical facts, figures, and photos of key executives.  But if you stop your search there, you may sound like every other candidate also interviewing for your dream job.  In addition, try to dig into news articles or social media posts that show you up-to-date information about the company and its initiatives.  In your interview, you may say: “I just read that your summer promotion on wine and chocolate was a huge success.  I follow your company on Instagram, and I love the photos and promotions you advertise.  I’d like to be a part of the marketing team.”

 

2)  Towards the end of your interview, most experienced recruiters or managers will ask you, “What questions do you have for me?”  A well-crafted question can lead to a deeper conversation about your experience and background.  Think through your questions ahead of time and write them down.  Try to ask questions relevant to the particular job, the team, and the day-to-day work that will be done.  Having a few engaging questions about the company allows you to show your interest level and your thoughtfulness.

 

3)  A fuzzy cell phone connection can ruin your first impression before it starts.  If possible, try to have access to a landline, just in case you need it.  If your connection is sketchy, you can always say, “I apologize but my connection is not as good as I’d hoped.  Would it be possible for me to call you back immediately from my land line?”

 

4)  Ahead of your scheduled interview, think through your desired salary range.  If you’d like to keep it general, you may say, for example, “I’d like to make between $20 and $25 per hour.”  Or you can be specific such as, “I am currently at $23.50 per hour and need to make at least this amount in my next job.”  By having no specific dollar amount in mind, it can undercut your value, and you may come across as being unprepared for your interview.  You may also get only the lowest end of the salary offering.  If you need to research the market value of the job before you interview, check out glassdoor.com or only ask the recruiter for guidance.

 

5)  When your interview is complete, follow-up with a “thank you” email.  Let’s assume that your recruiter or hiring manager conducts five other interviews the same day, for the same position.  The candidate who takes the time to email afterward has increased visibility.  A quick “thank you” note shows your thoughtfulness, organizational skills and you are follow through.

 

When you have an opportunity to speak with a recruiter, a leading staffing firm like The Canon Recruiting Group or an interviewer, it’s ultra-important that you bask in the opportunity to make a strong (and memorable) first impression.