Interview prep is tricky not because you don’t know what to do to get ready, but because you know too much about what you could do. Before you get bogged down in endless practice interview questions, make sure you have these things checked off your pre-interview to-do list.
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1. Research the company.
You probably know at least a little something about your prospective employer by the time you make it to the interview stage, or your resume and cover letter wouldn’t have helped you snag the interview. Still, now’s the time to make sure you have a full grasp of the company history, including its mission and founders, and are up-to-date on its latest news. Start with the corporate website and the organization’s profile in PayScale’s Research Center, and then do a Google News search, and take a look at the company’s social media profiles. Know how long they’ve been around, what challenges they’ve faced, who their competitors are. Most importantly, figure out what their problems are — especially the ones that hiring you would solve.
2. Investigate your role.
Look up the job title and find out what responsibilities typically go with that role. Think about your experience, and how it would fit. Take a salary survey to determine a salary range. Hopefully, you won’t be asked to get into specifics, but if you are, have an idea of what you’d like to hear and what you’d accept.
3. Get to know the key people.
If possible, ask for the names of the people you’ll be speaking with, so that you can look them up on LinkedIn before the interview. If you’re interviewing with folks outside of HR, pay special attention to their background and experience. Note any points of commonality with your background.
4. Prepare for common questions.
Avoid giving canned answers to common interview questions by concentrating on demonstrating how your skills, experience, and passion can help the company solve its problems. Practice, but focus more on remembering your own best qualities than on memorizing pat replies.
5. Practice confident body language.
Sit up straight, make (just enough) eye contact, and shake hands firmly — in short, practice looking like someone who deserves to get the job.
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