Picture this: you sent out more than ten perfectly curated resumes for different companies. Since it’s a pandemic, the odds of getting a call are slim. But a virus cannot kill your hopes, so you sent out as many resumes as you could. After a few submissions, you decided to pause your job hunting to take a nap; needless to say, you’re unguarded! You were sound asleep when you suddenly got a call for an interview tomorrow. Congrats!
Thankfully, you nailed that phone conversation, although you’re unprepared. But now you only have less than 24 hours to prepare for the interview!
Relax, take a deep breath, and study below’s interview preparation tips and tricks. They’ll answer the most critical question on every job prep: What do you do before the job interview?
Ultimate Interview Preparation Tips
1) Research, research, research!
Study about the company you’re applying to. Spend some time learning everything about the company — from as many sources as you can. It’s good that you head straight to the company website, but this information is only the surface. Learn their core values, workplace culture, current projects, and future goals through social media or other company review websites like Glassdoor. Run a Google search for any recent news, or find network connections who can provide you with input on the company.
Do a quick research on your interviewer. Look them up on LinkedIn to get a glimpse of their work ethics. You can also search them on social media to see how they are when they take off their professional jackets. Looking up your interviewer online can increase your confidence and comfort level during the meeting.
2) Make a list
Create a list of the skills and experiences the company is looking for and compare them to your assets. Include your certifications, work experiences, hard and soft skills, professional qualifications, and knowledge bases. This way, it’ll be easier for you to bring up these qualities during the interview, and in turn, show the recruiter you’re best suited for the job.
List down keywords that employers need to hear from you. Get to know what these keywords mean and apply them to your interview answers. When they listen to you utter industry-related words, they will see that you are equipped with the appropriate knowledge, regardless of your career experience.
Generate a list of your character references and your proudest accomplishments. These two things are the most common requirements interviewers ask. When you prepare ahead, they’ll know you’re ahead of the game as well.
3) Practice your answers to interview questions — especially the worst ones
Just when you thought that you had nailed the interview, the interviewer or panel suddenly throws you a nightmare question.
It can be hard to be confident with our answers when we are unsure about the questions. Below are the top questions interviewers ask during the interview. We also added brief notes for you to remember.
What would your enemy say about you?
Interviewers who ask this question want to find out how you evaluate your attitude. This question is challenging as it’s like they’re asking you to push yourself in a bad light.
You can professionally say: “I do not go around making enemies, but I have to admit, I have friendly rivals. However, I’d like to note that the competition only stays on the field. Once I get out of the ring, I make sure to help out that person, should they need it.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Interviewers aren’t asking whether you want them to promote you when they ask this question. They want to know your commitment to the job. They don’t want to see if you are only a suitable candidate for that year, but a match for the following years to come.
If the job is a career ladder for you, you can state something like: “I would love to stay in the company for as long as you need me. I’d love to belong in an organization where I can cater my skills and talents as a professional.”
What is your biggest weakness?
Use the question as a chance to toot your own horn in a formal and humble way. Remember to steer clear from personal traits and concentrate on your professional qualities. More importantly, state some action points you are doing to work on these qualities.
You can go ahead and say something like: “I pride myself on being a Type A kind of person. I have to admit — I’m the biggest critic of my own work. For me to improve in this area, I give myself ample time for revisions or ask coworkers for their opinion.”
Why should we hire you?
This is the best time to prove that you studied about the company. To answer this question, start by noting the company’s recent press releases. Mentioning current news about the company lets them know that you did your research well. Also, emphasize your skills and how they will apply to the position.
An example would be: “You should hire me because I know I am a great fit for the position. You can benefit from my proven ability and skills, especially now that you are expanding your market worldwide…”
Describe a time when you failed and how you handled it.
Don’t try to weasel your way out of the question. State the situation honestly, but do not be too descriptive. Try to be as vague but understandable as possible.
“I identify myself as an introvert, so sometimes I’d get shy to voice out my opinion. I know how to overcome this weakness, but sometimes, it just gets in the way. When we were working on a project, I didn’t say what we could’ve done better. Long story short, the project failed. From then on, I made sure to voice my opinions. Since then, I worked hard to make sure my team could count on me and my input.”
Why do you want this job?
Throw in a few accounts of your impressive input on your past company. You can also note an emotional story for added impact.
If you are applying for a women’s magazine, your answer could go like this: “Growing up, I only had my dad and brothers. To cope with this, I always read your magazine. ABC Magazine has always been the big sister that I never had. Besides familiarity with your brand, I would love to pay forward and apply my knowledge to the company that’s helped me so much. Working for your company would also allow me to further my knowledge and build on my skills.”
What was the worst thing about your last job?
This question isn’t designed for you to rant about your previous company. This question is a trap! So be cautious on your choice of words and avoid sounding negative when answering the question. When you do mention something slightly negative, make sure to back it up with a positive statement.
Your answer should be: “I enjoyed working for the ABC Company. I made many friends there. One of the reasons I’m leaving is that I felt I could learn more elsewhere. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity and knowledge they imparted on me, but I think I can grow more and fulfill my potential in a different environment.”
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
This question is somewhat the same as the question, “What’s your biggest asset?” Our tip is to choose something simple and effective as a superpower.
“I’d like to have the power of observation. I’d love to have a good eye for detail and the ability to step back and evaluate a situation, then take action.”
4) Sleep early
Getting a good night’s sleep does not only help you get to the place on time, but it also maximizes your cognitive performance. A good night’s sleep is key to staying focused and alert during your interview. If you are well-rested, you’ll feel more relaxed and your answers will come more easily. Going to bed early also helps you look fresh and prepared.
5) Dress up accordingly
When you mentally prepare yourself for the interview, take a moment to plan out your outfit the night before. You can also ask the interviewer about their company dress code to know what to wear. Also, do not wear anything flashy!
Regardless of the venue or whether the interview is in-person or through video, it’s essential to look polished and professional.
After the interview, send the hiring manager or panel a thank you email. More than its value, your digital letter could also act as your last chance to sell yourself. Restate your skills and qualifications, and reiterate how you can contribute to the company’s success. Your Thank You note will present any vital information that you forgot to discuss during the interview. It also lets you clarify a statement that you felt you did not explain well.
If all our tips, tricks, and guides helped you with your interview, let us know! We love to hear you share your success stories with us.