This is the fifth post in a series of posts about the most common and damaging mistakes jobseekers make. Read the full series here.
5th deadly sin: not preparing for a job interview
You read our blog posts about the first four deadly sins of job searching, followed our advice, and scored a job interview. Congratulations! Now, don’t go out and celebrate the achievement on the night before. Instead, use that time to prepare.
Why prepare for a job interview?
After all, this is all about you, and you know yourself pretty well, right? Not quite: the job interview is about you in relation to the job you are applying for and how you can benefit that company in that specific position. In order to be at your peak performance, you need to prepare the following:
Research the organizations’ dress code and dress accordingly. Check out your interview clothes a few days before, if they need dry cleaning you don’t want to find that out the morning of your interview. If it has been a while since your last job interview and you don’t wear your interview clothes frequently, try them on. They might not fit anymore or be out of style.
Your route to the interview location
Check out where you are going. If you are taking public transportation, check the schedule. If you are driving, search for the best route, how long it takes, if there is construction, etc. After all, one of the biggest interview blunders is being late!
Research the company and the role you are applying for
You want to know everything about the company you possibly can. If you know somebody that works there already, talk to them. At the very least you need to thoroughly check out their website. Ideally you also follow them on social media and research their business information in company databases such as ReferenceUSA.
This is obviously the big one. Most job interviews will be conducted using behavioral questions. Behavioral questions are those that ask about real life examples from your work history or hypothetical scenarios common in your field. For example: “Tell me about a situation with a difficult co-worker and how you resolved it” or “An angry client calls and accuses you of giving him the wrong information. What do you do?”. It is very hard to come up with good answers to those kinds of questions on the spot. You need to take time and prepare them.
The best way to answer behavioral questions is the STAR method – Situation/Task, Action, Result. You want to tell the interviewer the situation or task you were faced with, the action you took to resolve that situation and the result from your action. Google the most common behavioral questions and write down your own best answer to each of them. Then practice them until you can present them naturally and with ease. You also want to record yourself. This way you can see your facial expressions and body language.
If you need help with interview preparation, contact the Career Center at 225-231-3733. We have many interview prep materials for you to practice and will conduct mock interviews, which we can tape if you like.
Stay tuned for the next deadly sin of job search.
Written by Anne Nowak