Interviewing can cause you to feel anxious, but what if you could reduce last-minute stressors by gathering information and being prepared?
It isn’t unusual to get so excited about being invited for an interview that you forget to obtain some important details. It can be awkward to re-contact the employer, so make sure you get all the information you need the first time. Click through to see the information you’ll want to collect prior to the interview.
Confirm the job you’ll be interviewing for
It sounds so basic, but things can change between the time an employer posts a job and when they schedule interviews. For example, based on the pool of candidates, the job requirements could change. Or the employer may have selected an internal candidate for the role, which means the job available now is the one that belonged to the newly promoted employee. It’s alright to confirm the job title you’re interviewing for. You may even want to ask if there is a more detailed job description than the one you saw listed.
Sometimes employers post a general job posting on their website for the sake of time. It can’t hurt to ask.
Who will you be meeting with?
You really do need to know who you’ll be interviewing with. The employer may schedule interviews with human resources, the actual hiring manager or with multiple people from different roles. The only way to know for sure who you’ll be meeting with is to ask the question. You’ll want two pieces of information: the person’s name and job title. Equipped with names and titles, you can research the people on LinkedIn and the company website. Take a look at their career progression, interests, activities and any information that will enable you to find common interests that help build rapport. You can also see how long your interviewers have been with the company and in what roles. It is possible that the employer won’t know exactly who will be interviewing you. Based on work schedules, employees sometimes are invited at the last moment. Do your best to get as much information as possible without being pushy.
How long will the interview last?
Never assume it will only last a few minutes or an hour. Some employers schedule a longer interview. While you’re at it, this would also be a good time to confirm the exact location you are to report to for the interview and who you should ask for when you arrive. The more information you have, the more comfortable you will feel on this stressful day.
What is the format of the interview?
If the person arranging the interview hasn’t already told you, ask about the interview format. For example, will you be meeting with more than one person at a time? Walking into a room and seeing a panel of people waiting for you can be intimidating. Being forearmed with this information removes the element of surprise from the equation and at least gives you time to mentally prepare. More employers are issuing assessments to gauge your fit with the organization or tests to measure your skills. There isn’t any preparation you can do for a personality assessment—just know you should answer the questions truthfully. Your success is based on how well your personality fits with the role and the team. And a skill evaluation shouldn’t be a big deal if you have accurately conveyed your work history and achievements.
What’s happening at the company?
You won’t ask this question, but you will need to research the company before your interview. Look at the news and articles posted on the employer’s website and on LinkedIn. You should also do an Internet search for the company name to see what appears on the first couple of pages of search results. News about new products or business, an increase in hiring or layoffs are all helpful tidbits of information you can tactfully include in your questions during the interview. And look for news of changes in leadership, which could point to financial problems or could influence employee morale, for better or worse.
What are current trends in the industry?
While you are researching the employer, it is also the perfect time to study up on what is happening in the industry. Research the employer’s top competitors and what business strategies they are using. Find out if there are economic factors influencing the industry. Look for information that will show you are dedicated to the profession, industry and have a deep interest in the employer’s success.