How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

Preparing for you job interview

 

Great news, you have secured an interview. Awesome! Now what? While the interview process can feel intimidating, it does not have to be overwhelming if you set yourself up for success. The J. Morrissey team has put together this comprehensive interview guide so that you can feel confident about every step of the interview process. Here’s everything you need to know for a successful job interview: 

PREPARATION:

The best thing you can do to feel in control and confident in any interview is to prepare ahead of time. Preparation, both mentally and physically, is key to ensuring that you feel confident and composed for your interview. Doing so will make you feel more in control of the process so you can put your best foot forward. Here are some important preparation recommendations:

Research the company:

  • View their website to learn about what they do, their mission statement and core values, their history, and all the details of their business.
  • Do a google search of the company to research their financial information (if available) and to see if there is any newsworthy press coverage highlighting recent accomplishments or updates to the company.
  • Find the people who will be interviewing you on LinkedIn (or the company website), to familiarize yourself with those who you will be meeting, their roles within the organization, and their interests so you can find common ground during the interview.

Review your experience:

  • No one knows you better than yourself, so it’s important to go over your experience and prepare examples of accomplishments that align with the job description. 
  • Practice your elevator pitch. There’s nothing worse than starting an interview off rambling, so prepare and practice how you want to confidently and concisely open the interview. 
  • Be prepared to walk the interviewer(s) through your resume and be able to speak to it in a way that’s tailored for the role you are interviewing for. 
  • If you are meeting in person, print several copies of your resume to hand out.

Practice questions they may ask you:

Prospective employers want to find out about you and your abilities (as reviewed in the prior section), so be prepared to answer the below questions. Below are some common interview questions to practice as well as some situation interview questions. Be ready with examples for all of these. Keep all your answers professional, objective, honest, and respond in a way this is appropriate to the company and the opportunity.

Common Interview Questions:

  • Why should I hire you? What makes you the best candidate? 
  • Why did you choose this particular role? 
  • What do you really hope to gain or learn in your next career move? 
  • Why would you like to work for our organization? 
  • What interests you about our products or services? 
  • What would your previous employer say about you? Would they recommend you for this position? Why? 
  • What style of management do you work best with? 
  • What is your major weakness? What have you done about it? 
  • What does “teamwork” mean to you? 
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years? 
  • Why are you leaving your current position? What are you looking for in your next role? 

Situational Interview Questions:

  • Tell me about a time when you had a confrontation with a boss or co-worker.
  • Tell me about a time when you were working under a serious time deadline.
  • Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that you didn’t know how to do.
  • Tell me about something you had to work on recently that you found difficult. 

For each situational question, answer with the STAR Approach: 

S: SITUATION Describe a specific situation that applies to the question — do not generalize. 

T: TASK – Describe the task at hand; again, do not generalize — be specific. 

A: ACTION – Describe the actions you took to resolve the situation and/or complete the task

R: RESULT Describe the final result of the situation – and MAKE SURE it is a POSITIVE result! 

Practice questions you may want to ask during the interview:

Most employers are impressed when you question them intelligently during a job interview. It shows them you took the time to research their organization and can indicate your interest in the position. And remember, the interview is for you as well. Make sure you are comfortable with the company and the opportunity. Think about the reasons you are looking for a change in your career, and make sure this position addresses those issues.

General questions to ask:

  • How/why has this position become available? 
  • Who would be my direct supervisor? How would you describe their management style? 
  • What is the environment or culture like?
  • What do you see as strengths of the department? What do you see as the weaknesses? 
  • Can you tell me about the challenges other people have had in this role? 
  • How do you think this position should be performed in order for it to be successful? 
  • How will my work and productivity be evaluated? 
  • What are some key things I should know about this company? Any negatives?

Interview question for more corporate/executive level questions:

  • In what ways does your company foster the growth, development, and learning of its employees? 
  • Where can I expect to be in 2 years when I come in and perform at or above levels expected of me? 
  • What has been the key to making this company successful? 
  • What is unique about the way the company operates? 
  • What does your company do to give it a competitive edge over the rest of the market? 
  • What is the company’s current financial situation? (you should know about this, but if it is not strong, have them explain why and how they hope to turn it around) 
  • What economic conditions impact your organization? What is being done to handle these situations? 
  • What does the department hope to achieve in the next 2-3 years? How will that help the company? How will the company recognize it?

Plan your journey for the in-person interview:

  • There’s nothing worse than showing up late for an interview. This can easily be avoided by looking up directions to the company ahead of time. Leverage a navigation app like Google Maps or Waze to help you navigate to the location.
  • Aim to arrive 15 minutes early and plan on walking inside 5-10 minutes early. Give yourself extra time in case you encounter traffic delays, road closures, bus delays, etc. 
  • Make sure you also understand the parking situation prior to the interview. This may also require extra time.

Prepare for your virtual interview:

  • While in-person interviews require you to physically navigate to the interview location, virtual interviews require some preparation and navigation with your device.
  • Set up your device. We always recommend a desktop or laptop however if you need to use a tablet or phone, that is fine. 
  • Download and register for the virtual application you will be utilizing such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google, etc.
  • Find an appropriate location to conduct the interview. This location should have good lighting, a professional-looking background, and be free of possible interruptions. 
  • Test your connection with a spouse or friend prior to the interview. Make sure your video camera and microphone are working within the application. 
  • Close all other applications and browsers so that the only thing open is the interview application.
  • Do a test connection the day of the interview and make sure you log on 5-10 minutes early so that you are not late. Always give yourself extra time in case you run into any technical difficulties and need to adjust computer settings at the last minute or need to restart your computer. 
  • When you first log on, they will see you before you see them so be cognizant of what you are doing.

Physically prepare yourself for your interview:

  • Dress to impress – no exceptions—ditch the yoga pants and jeans and dress professionally for the role you are trying to get from head to toe. 
  • Make sure you are well-rested and in the right frame of mind at least one day before. 
  • Eat a healthy meal and hydrate before the interview to ensure you are mentally and physically feeling your best. 
  • Turn off your cell phone, and put it away before the interview starts.

Want to know what to expect during the interview and what steps to take after the interview? Check out our full interview guide here! Contact our team of staffing and recruiting experts with any questions regarding the interview process. We are here to help. Call 860-925-6000.

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