Money·3 min read

5 Interview Prep Tips You Don’t Wanna Skip

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Aug 12, 2022

The interview process can be intimidating. Which is why it’s a good idea to prepare before logging on to Zoom or meeting with your interviewer in person. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to prep and ease your nerves. Even if you don’t know which interview questions to expect.

When should I start prepping for an interview?

As soon as you can. Because it can take between five and 10 hours to make sure you’re ready to crush your interview. 

What should be on my interview prep checklist?

The first steps in interview prep are mainly about background info. Not only info about the company, but you’ll also need to take some time to evaluate your own background.

1. Study the role.

Make a list of the ways the new role would fit into your planned career path. Hint: Evaluate your skills, experience, and LinkedIn connections. Plus, being familiar with the role you’re going for will make it easier to answer the hiring manager’s questions. So when you’re asked “Why do you want to work here?,” you’ll know exactly where you fit. 

2. Perfect your resume.

Look back over your resume. Even if you don’t have any employment gaps, a detailed resume review will help you spot experience in your work history that may help you land the new position. Think: Do you have any transferable skills? 

3. Practice and prepare your responses.

Practice answering common interview questions. Interview questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • “Tell me about yourself and your background.” Here’s your chance to talk about the experience you found during your resume review that applies to the new position you’re going for. Here’s a simple formula: start with your present role and responsibilities, then your past experience. Next, move on to how the role will fit into your future plans. 

  • “How did you hear about this position?” If someone recommended you for the role, now’s the time to share the details. Because there’s a high probability the hiring manager has no idea. If you found the opening on your own, let the interviewer know. Along with the specifics of why you chose to apply. Think: Aligned values. 

  • “When balancing multiple projects, how do you prioritize tasks?” Time to get specific when this question comes up. Think of an experience you had in a prior role when you successfully juggled multiple tasks.

And come up with a few questions to ask your interviewer. Because they’ll likely leave time for a Q&A at the end, and you’ll want to be prepared. Here are a few to get you started:

  • “Would you like me to explain anything further or provide any examples?” This gives you the chance to redeem yourself in case any of your interview responses were too vague.

  • “Can you tell me where the company is going?” This will help you understand where you fit in with the company. Plus, it’s usually pretty inspiring.

4. Try out the product or service. 

If the company you work for sells a product or service, try it out before the interview. Knowing the product or service firsthand will make it easier to discuss its value…if that’s a part of your new role. Plus, it’ll show the hiring manager that you’re genuinely interested in the position.

5. Research the salary.

The interview isn’t the right time to discuss pay (unless the hiring manager brings it up first), but your interview prep should include average pay research. And, just in case the hiring manager brings it up, it’s a good idea to arrive prepared to discuss your salary expectations. And doing your research beforehand will help you avoid being underpaid. 

theSkimm

The interview process can be tough. But it always helps to start preparing as soon as you can. Psst...Once your interview prep is done, it’s time to gear up for your salary negotiation. PS: theSkimm is hiring.

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