You've landed an interview, now the preparation begins! We've put together a comprehensive guide including tips, suggestions, sample interview questions, virtual interview set up, and more to help you shine and land the job!

If you’ve been selected for an interview with a potential employer, you are probably wondering what you can do to be at the top of the list for consideration for the role.  The advice we give to our job seekers and candidates is to STUDY!  Think of your upcoming interview as the test that would determine whether you got that “A+” or that “C-” in Science class.  The interview is your chance to impress the hiring manager and to let your skills shine through your personality, experience, etc.  One of the most common mistakes well-qualified candidates make is not taking an interview seriously and not preparing ahead of time.

 

What do we mean by “study?”

Study up on the employer company:

In our experience, almost every employer will ask you what you know about the company, and the more you can conversate about the company specifically, the more comfortable you will feel during your interview and the more impressed the hiring manager will be.   Some ideas of topics to study and learn about the company are:

  • The company’s mission statement and/or core values – how do they relate to you and what can you do to enhance those values if hired.
  • What does the company do?
  • Where do they operate?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have press releases and articles published on the web that talk about future goals, innovative achievements, expansion projects, philanthropic initiatives, new product launches, etc?
  • How long has the hiring manager been with the business?
  • What is the hiring manager’s background?
  • Does the company have a social media presence for you to check out what they are posting about?

You can check for this information using different resources such as:

  • The company’s website
  • Your recruiter
  • Facebook, Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, Google
  • Annual business reports
  • Connections you may have with current or previous employees

Study up on the position:

It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the position BEFORE your interview. What are the primary responsibilities? Also, be prepared to ask specific questions about the position during your interview like:

  • Is this a newly created position?  If so, what would you consider to be the keys to being successful in this role?  If not, what are some areas/duties/responsibilities that you hope the new team member will improve once hired?
  • Who does the position report to?

Be sure to ask your recruiter these same questions if you are working with a staffing agency before your interview which may help you ask more detailed questions during the interview if you know the information ahead of time.  Working with a staffing agency during your job search is a great way to help prepare you for interviews rather than going in “blind.”

Study up on yourself:

This is probably the most “looked over” area to study up on because you “already know yourself,” right?  While you defintely know your skills and experience better than you can probably describe on paper (resume), the hiring manager usually only knows what you have listed on your resume.  If you are working with a staffing agency, you probably know that your recruiter is a valuable resource to help relay your experience to the employer outside of the surface level of the resume, so be sure to communicate efficiently with your staffing agency representative about the in’s and out’s of your experience.  After all, you are the expert in this role, you are the one who is potentially being hired to do this job and that is what a hiring manager will be looking for.

If you haven’t looked over your resume in a while, review it and be ready to give detailed information about the bulleted experience points and how they relate to the bulleted points in the position’s job description.

Scrub your social media!  These days, employers often check out your social media profiles before they even interview you, so make sure you have your profile updated with the information you want to make sure they know about you and remove the information that a potential employer may not view as professional.  This should actually be done before you even start your job search and should be updated as often as necessary.

We've put together a list of the most common questions a potential employer or hiring manager might ask you during your interview. Preparing your answers ahead of time can help your chances of standing out as a top candidate!

The list of questions below are the most common questions our candidates are asked during job interviews.  We’ve compiled this list to help job seekers practice answering them prior to an interview. You’ll notice some of these questions are pretty generic and most applicants will give generic answers, but this is the time to shine! Crafting your answers to relate to practical examples one might encounter in the role or the company’s core values or mission are always great to incorporate.  Remember, you want to be as relatable as possible in order to leave a lasting impression, but you also want to make sure you aren’t giving answers that the hiring manager wants to hear.  You are also interviewing the company to find out if this is going to be a great fit for you and your work style.

Ask a friend, colleague, or recruiter to conduct a practice interview with you and provide constructive feedback.

Generic Interview Question Examples

  • Tell me about your current position and what do you enjoy the most and least about it?
    • This is a great opportunity to make sure you bring as many details about your current position that are relevant to the job description for the role you are interviewing for as possible.
  • How would your employer describe you?
  • How would your co-workers describe you?
  • How do you describe yourself?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
    • This question is always tricky, but you can sometimes spin it to bring a positive light to the answer. It’s also a very common question, so research creative answers to this question that are relatable and admirable.
  • What is most important to you in your next company/position?
  • What is the most difficult experience you’ve ever had to deal with and how did you handle it?
  • Who had the greatest influence on your life? Why?
  • Why are you interested in making a job change?
  • What are your geographic preferences? Are you willing to relocate or travel if necessary?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
    • YES! This is a great time to ask those questions that are important to you.  Company culture etc. If the person interviewing you will be your boss, you could ask what they consider their management style to be.

Education Related Interview Question Examples

  • How did your college experience prepare you for a career?
  • Are your grades a good indication of your potential?
  • What did you learn from extracurricular activities?
  • Did you work while you were in school?
  • Describe a typical week for me during your time as a college student

Job Related Interview Question Examples

  • What interests you about this position?
  • In what ways will you contribute to the company?
  • If you were the one hiring a new employee for this position, what qualities would you look for?
  • Tell me about your last/current employer?
    • Answer this as positively as possible, hiring managers aren’t too keen on their new employees bashing their previous employers.
  • Why are you leaving your present position?
    • Again, answer this as professionally as possible. Do you desire a place to grow professionally that you can see yourself for many years to come?  ?  You never know, the hiring manager could be friends with your current employer…

Interpersonal Interview Question Examples

  • Would you describe yourself as an influencer, if so, how so?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • How well do you meet deadlines?
  • Describe your relationship with current customers/co-workers/managers.
  • Which of your managers impressed you the most? Why?

Characteristic Interview Question Examples

  • What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?
  • Describe your most significant accomplishment?
  • What makes you the best candidate for this role?
  • Describe the perfect job for you?

Expectations Interview Question Examples

  • What are your career goals – short term, long term, 5 years from now, next year, etc?
  • Do you have a contingency plan?
  • How do you know you’ll be successful if hired for this role?

Prepare the interview questions you want to ask the hiring manager or interviewer.

A good interview should be a two-way conversation, not a one-sided interrogation. Be sure to ask questions that can help you learn more about the position, make it known that you are informed, and give you a better idea of where you stand with the interviewer. Here are some questions you could consider asking:

Again, ask a friend, colleague, or recruiter to conduct a practice interview with you and provide constructive feedback. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE

Company Growth & Career Advancement Related Interview Questions

  • What are the company’s prospects for growth and advancement?
  • How does an employee in my position advance in the company? Are there any examples?
  • In the recent history of the company, what has been the biggest advancement, and what has been the biggest setback?
  • What is your highest priority in the next six months and how could someone like me help?
  • Where do you see your company going in the next several years?

Candidate Experience/Qualification Question Examples

  • What are the main qualities you are looking for in a candidate?
  • Do you feel my background is a good fit for the job?
  • What characteristics do your best employees have in common?
  • What interested you about my experience and qualifications when considering applicants for this role?

Position Specific Related Interview Question Examples

  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • Is this a new position? If not, what did the previous employee go on to do?
  • How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?
  • Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, may I meet him/her?
  • Who will review my performance? How often?
  • How many people work in this office/department?
  • What is your highest priority in the next six months and how could someone like me help?
  • How much travel is expected? Is relocation a possibility?
  • What is the typical work week? Is overtime expected?

Company Culture Related Interview Question Examples

  • Could I have an opportunity to meet some of the people with whom I would be working?
  • Could you describe your company’s management style and the type of employee who fits well with it?
  • What characteristics do your best employees have in common?
  • Could I have an opportunity to meet some of the people with whom I would be working?
  • Could you describe your company’s management style and the type of employee who fits well with it?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
  • What is the company’s policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training for employees to keep up their skills or acquire new ones?
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