No matter who you are, or how much you’ve practiced (or how well rehearsed you are) - an interview is stressful! Being on the other side of the table as the recruiter, I wanted to share some tips to help alleviate that stress. It all comes down to preparation. If you Google "how to prep for an interview", you’ll get a whopping 391-million results! You’ll find a lot of practice questions. But if you tried to practice every question a recruiter could possibly ask you, you’ll practice yourself into oblivion. So while practice questions are great, I have some other recruiter tips that I think you can use to stand out – and rock the interview!
1. What's trending?
If you do nothing else prior to your interview, check out current news about the company. This will allow you to be aware of any major changes or updates about the company. It is very likely that this could come up during the interview, and if you’re prepared and can speak knowledgeably about the company – it’ll make you stand out. The Muse gives great advice on how to "stalk" your future employer, without going too far.
2. Do some sleuthing on LinkedIn
Check out the company you're interviewing with on LinkedIn! It’s so easy, but it’s one of the most valuable things you can do. Check out their LinkedIn Company page to learn about the business, products, or services. Then check out the LinkedIn Company Life page to discover more about their culture and what it would be like to work there. Most importantly, you should always, always, always (did I mention always?) check out the profiles of the people you are going to be interviewing with. You can see what they do at the company, how long they’ve been there, what their professional background is, what volunteer efforts or organizations they’re involved with, and so much more. You don't need to bring up every detail about someone during the interview to "prove" you've researched them – because let’s be honest – that’s a little creepy. But, it does give you an opportunity to ask informed questions or make a genuine connection with your interviewers.
Tip for hiring managers: when you are hiring, take that as an opportunity to update your profile. If you're looking for quick advice, check out this article from The Muse.
3. Practice with a friend
Like I said, you can't practice every question you might get asked, but you can practice your body language and practice thinking on the fly. You’ve heard the saying "practice in front of a mirror", but since I read Karen Hough's article on Huffington Post, Presentation Rules to Break: Practice in Front of a Mirror, she's converted me! She reminded me when you're with another person, "You’ll feel what it’s like to have another person react to you, and you’ll understand how energy and eye contact affect them." So, invite someone to sit down with you at your kitchen table or a local park and practice answering random questions. Even if the questions are easy, like, "Tell me about a recent vacation". Just practicing sitting still in front of someone will help get your question-answering juices flowing and leave you better prepped day-of!