I started 2019 off in a desperate hunt for a job. What they don’t tell you is that looking, and interviewing, for the next step in your career is actually a full time job in itself. You spend countless hours searching for said jobs, but your work doesn’t end there. After you find a job you feel good about, you have to personalize your cover letter, review your resume, fill out the lengthy applications, and send follow up emails. And then (assuming you land an interview) it’s time to do research on the company and prepare. It’s a lot (truly).
I hadn’t interviewed in nearly six years, so to say I was rusty is an understatement. My first interview I was extremely nervous, but the 4-5 interviews following that got easier. Here are some hacks I’ve picked up for nailing an interview.
1) Do your research. Don’t just Google the company you’re interviewing with, do a deep dive on who they are, what they do, who their competitors are, what works and what doesn’t. Since I work in marketing, I’ll study their social media channels, blog, paid marketing efforts, sign up for their newsletters and find their pain points and missed opportunities (more on this later).
2) Dress professional, but comfortable. If I feel good, and comfortable, I’ll be much more confident going into a nerve-racking situation. And confidence is key. Go buy a new suit if you have to, but make sure it’s professional. My rule of thumb is to always overdress. Even if the people interviewing you are in jeans, what you’re wearing will speak to your professionalism.
3) Study your resume (and then study it again). You should know your resume like the back of your hand. Go prepared with at least five copies of your resume printed out to give to the interview panel, but don’t use that for yourself to reference. Instead, memorize your experience, skills, and have examples ready of how those apply to the company in question.
4) Sell yourself, hard. Get yourself a hype girl, and then convince yourself that you’re the shit (seriously). If you don’t believe that you deserve the job, neither will they. So sell yourself, your skills, your experience, and do it with a smile. Even if you feel under qualified, twist your experience in a way that makes you sound like the absolute best fit for the job. Sometimes you have to fake it ‘til you make it— ya know?
5) Don’t be afraid to tell them what they’re doing wrong. There’s always room for improvement, which is why they’re hiring someone. Don’t be afraid to address their pain points and missed opportunities. Take it one step further and tell them how you’d change or improve things if they were to hire you. They will appreciate the initiative and it will show that you’ve done your homework.
6) Always follow up. When you leave the interview, thank them for their time, and then follow up via email the following day. The email should be short and sweet, but reiterate your interest. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you, ask them if they have any additional questions that you can answer, and close the email by saying you look forward to their response. This proves to the hiring manager that you actually want the job, and it keeps you on their radar.