It is safe to say that you have done something right if you have landed a job interview, but the hard work has only just begun. Jodee Ledford, certified career counselor at University of Phoenix recently shared her tried-and-true tips for interview preparation that can help you put your best foot forward in your job search.
Tip #1: Pencil in the time to prepare for your interview
Ledford believes that “preparing for an interview is critically important if you want to be successful in landing a job.” While it can be time consuming to complete job applications, you must continue to put the time into your interview preparation if you are serious about landing the role. As a result, Ledford advises interviewees to give themselves “at least three days or more to prepare for an interview.” Having a full three days before your interview can give you ample time to research the company’s values and consider how your background can contribute to their mission.
Tip #2: Have an understanding of what the interviewer wants
Understanding what the interviewer is looking for encourages you to reflect on your past experiences and future goals. When you sit down for an interview, employers look to evaluate your capability, motivation and fit. Your capability assesses what you can do in terms of your knowledge, skills and abilities. Employers also want to understand the motivation behind your career or the reasons why you chose your career path. Your interests, values and goals all speak to your motivation. Lastly, employers evaluate whether you fit into the organization to understand your background and personality compared to the organization’s current employees. Anticipate that an interviewer might use your personality, work and leadership style and preferred work environment as ways to assess your potential fit with their company.
Tip #3: Research the company
It may seem like there is an endless amount of information available for you to learn more about your potential future employer. Avoid fatigue by narrowing your search down to these six categories: background, products and services, key differentiators, recent news, culture and performance. When researching background, look for a company’s origin story, historical milestones and leadership team. It is also critical to understand their primary products, services and target market. Key differentiators can include their reputation and brand characteristics.
Unsure of where to find recent news about your potential future employer? Look for their press releases and media coverage in relevant publications. Consider how these materials fit into their business strategy and direction. When it comes to company culture, you can explore their work environment, values, vision and mission. Finally, look into the company’s financial health, industry trends, company stocks and competitors to develop an understanding of their performance.
Tip #4: Research the position
Now that you have taken the time to reflect on your job experience and potential new employer, you can turn your attention to the job description. Ledford affirms that interviewees should “research the position by evaluating the job description to understand what the employer expects of you.” In your evaluation, Ledford recommends that you “highlight the key responsibilities and skills required for the role” as a way to help “you focus on the most important aspects of the job.” Honing in on the role’s key responsibilities and skills can also guide you to reflect on what components of your background have prepared you the most for the role.
Tip #5: What’s your why?
Last but certainly not least, Ledford advises that interviewees clarify their motivation for why they want the role. She explains that “a helpful exercise for clarifying your motivation is to write down at least three reasons why you want to work for the company in this role.” Simply write down “I want to work for this company in this role because” and list up to five reasons that excite you about the opportunity.
Ledford also recommends that applicants create a “list of key responsibilities and skills that you identified in the job description.” Then consider your past experiences and “write down examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills” in a separate column. Doing this can help you build your confidence and remind you that you are qualified to meet and exceed the employer’s expectations.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix offers over 100 online programs that align with over 300 professional occupations. Popular areas of study include business, nursing, education, technology and healthcare. The University’s robust virtual learning programs seek to accommodate the unique needs of non-traditional learners and adult students. Being one of the top schools, the University of Phoenix reviews on trustpilot are excellent.