One of the great things about working in staffing is having the opportunity to work closely with candidates during the interview process. Having the right preparation can make the difference in creating that lasting impression. I work with candidates who have varying levels of interviewing experience, but continue to make it a point with each of them to have a conversation before any interview. Preparation is the key!
The phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ is certainly true when it comes to the interview process. Many candidates starting their job search usually feel that their first interview is not their best performance. As you schedule more and more interviews you will see an improvement with each and every one. Make sure to continually challenge yourself with a fresh approach.
If your job search has turned from weeks to months, make a conscious effort to revamp your answers to common interview questions. I find most job seeking candidates consistently improve as the interview process unfolds, but most can also become too comfortable and too set in their ways when speaking about their backgrounds.
Here are a few tactics to stay on your toes for every interview (even if you are a seasoned pro):
1.) Schedule informational interviews with professionals who don’t necessarily have jobs open. This can be a great way to learn about a new industry or company and to describe your background. Plus, it is a great way to get unfiltered advice on your interviewing skills.
2.) Spend time thinking about how your background is relevant to each position before every interview. Events which happened earlier in your career can be more difficult to recall and you don’t want to walk out of an interview regretting that you didn’t share a relevant role.
3.) Prepare for interviews a few days ahead, if possible. The more time you spend thinking about each role, the more you will be able to ensure you have the best responses for common interview questions.
4.) Practice your responses to common interview questions out loud. Even if you feel comfortable with the research you have done, make sure to try it with a friend, family member or a mentor first.
Yes, it is important to research every company beforehand, but make sure you are applying this research to your own background before going to meet with a hiring manager. There will be some questions you won’t be able to prepare for, as there can always be curveballs, but it is important to think about potential questions ahead of time.
If you are working with a recruiter be sure to get feedback on your meeting with the recruiter and try to get as much information about the client. A good recruiter will be helpful by offering you encouragement on your strengths and suggestions on ways to be your best.