How to prep for an interview: 5 recruiter tips you should never forget

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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!

4. Map out your route

Remove another possible source of stress, and map out where you’re going. If possible, drive to your interview location a few days prior. You don’t have to go all the way to the front door (actually, I highly discourage that), but at least get to the entrance -  then you can head back home. You’ll have a mental picture of where you need to be that day and it's one less thing to worry about. I use the Waze app to get me anywhere I'm going. It provides real-time traffic info and gets me on time, every time! If you can't make the drive ahead of time, at least map it out ahead of time (You can use Waze for that too!). You’ll know where you’re going and can be sure to leave plenty of time to spare. Maybe even have some spare time in the car to relax before walking inside.

5. Go somewhere alone and meditate!

You've done your research, you’ve picked out your interview outfit, and your resume is in hand -now what?  Maybe the nerves are kicking in?. To calm those nerves, try to mediate! One of my favorite articles, How to Nail a Job Interview with Meditation, gives tips on how to meditate, stay calm and remain focused during an interview. Meditation doesn't have to take a long time, sometimes just pausing to take a few deep breaths can help you focus. If you don’t feel like you can do it on your own, guess what - there's an app for that! I use Simple Habit, but there are tons of others like Headspace, Calm and many more!  To be a successful interviewee you must stay calm and focused under mental pressure.
You're ready now. So, go forth and conquer your next interview! Just follow these 5 tips and you’ll do great!
If you're interested in interviewing with us here at SAS, check out some great opportunities we have at SAS.com/careers.
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About Author

Jessica McNulty

Talent Acquisition Program Manager

Jessica McNulty is a Program Manager on our Global Talent Acquisition Team. Her focus areas include team enablement, customer experience, process innovation, global employment practices, new hire orientation, and others. Jessica is an NC Native and proud East Carolina University Alum that loves exploring the Triangle area with her husband and two rescue dogs.

2 Comments

  1. Alyssa Grube

    Great tips! I've always felt awkward practicing "fake" interview questions with others as interview preparation - I like the idea of practicing with more natural topics like vacations, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Amazing tips! Good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.Your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job. Keep it up

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