Tips from Human Resource Professionals on Preparing for a Job Interview

So you’ve done all the “heavy lifting” that goes into finding the job of your dreams. You put together a killer resume, lined up your very best references, spent plenty of time scouring job sites for positions that dovetail with your experience, and you landed an interview. After all that hard work, getting an interview may make you feel like celebrating but don’t start your touchdown dance just yet. There’s still plenty to do. Human resource consultants advise that preparing for a job interview is absolutely essential if you’re going to wow a hiring manager and come off as the best-qualified candidate for the position. Here a few tips designed to help you land that job.

Research, Research, Research

There’s an old saying that goes, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” That could certainly be said of job candidates who fail to do their homework. A company doesn’t just want to learn more about you, they want to see how much you’ve learned about them. Discussing what they do and displaying substantive knowledge about the company’s industry will definitely create a strong impression. It makes you look organized, proactive, and truly interested in the job. So spend plenty of time researching the company’s website and any industry news that might shed more light on their past, achievements, and challenges.

job interview

Practice

One of the best ways to stand out is to impress interviewers with well-considered and thoughtful responses to their questions, so spend time thinking through how you’d respond to the kinds of questions they’re most likely to ask. There are plenty of job sites that offer advice from human resource professionals on how to do this. If you’ve ever squirmed your way through an interview because you didn’t know how to answer questions like, “What’s your biggest weakness?,” then you know the value of being ready to handle tough questions. And don’t forget to review your work history so you’re ready to give detailed answers if asked about past job responsibilities. Hesitating because you can’t quite recall information from your own background doesn’t make a good impression.

Line up your own questions

Human resource pros advise job candidates not to neglect that part of the interview where you’re asked, “What questions do you have for me?” Responding with “I’m good,” “I can’t really think of anything,” or a perfunctory “How many employees do you have?” can send an otherwise positive interview into a tailspin very quickly. Not preparing intelligent questions makes you look somewhere between indifferent and lazy, so set aside time to line up questions about the organization, inquiries that will spur further conversation and show that you’re well-informed.

Nonverbal communication

Good nonverbal communication can be a problem for someone who goes into an interview too nervous and self-aware. Avoid playing with your hair, keep your hands still, and make good eye contact but don’t act like you’re trying to hypnotize the interviewer. Most of it comes down to straightforward common sense, but be aware of how you’re coming off verbally and non-verbally because nonverbal communication can tell a story that your verbal responses won’t, according to Kathi Guiney of Yes! Your Human Resources Solution.

Online reputation

The internet is much more than a venue for keeping up with friends on social media. It’s become the major platform for business, and that includes hiring. Human resource managers are more diligent than ever when it comes to checking the online profiles of people they intend to interview. It’s important enough that an online reputation management plan today should be regarded as a necessity, not an afterthought.

Your reputation can be damaged in many ways, and it may be necessary to deal with the fallout if you’ve been attacked by an individual or organization or had your honesty and credibility impugned. Consider working with a professional organization that has experience investigating online attacks and character assassinations. It can benefit you from a legal standpoint as well as professionally.

Landing your dream job takes too much time and work to let it all fall apart by being unprepared for an interview. Put the same kind of dedication into getting ready for it that you did with your resume and job search. Think of it as your big chance to seal the deal.

  • Eva Benoit (Guest Writer)

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