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Be Intentional: Why Interview Preparation Makes All the Difference

To land a job, there are a few key factors that must take place during the interview process. Those key factors include skills and qualifications, confidence, communication, likeability, and timing to name a few. While these factors play a major role in having a successful interview, landing your dream job often hinges on a single, crucial moment: your preparation. As the saying goes, proper preparation prevents poor performance and it’s what truly sets strong candidates apart. 


Here's why taking the time to prepare can significantly boost your chances of success:


1. Review the Job Description: Aligning Your Skills with Their Needs


A job description isn't just a formality; it's a roadmap to what the hiring manager is looking for. The job description clearly summarizes the role’s responsibilities and duties, the required qualifications, and information on the company’s culture and values. If used properly, it can be a goldmine for candidates.


Action Plan:


· Breakdown the description: Underline/highlight key skills, qualifications, and experience the company’s looking for and find a connection with the skills, qualifications, and experience that you have.


· Develop your story: Prepare examples from your work history that demonstrate your proficiency in these areas.


2. Become a Company Expert: Research is Key


Knowing the company you're interviewing with goes a long way. You want the hiring manager to envision you in the role, and a part of bringing that visual to life is you becoming familiar with the company itself. Researching the company will give you more confidence during the interview and will help you ask more informed questions.


Action Plan:


· Look over the company website: Learn about their mission, values, products or services, and recent news.


· Check out their social media: Follow the company on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to gain insights into their culture and current projects.


· Look for industry news: Search Google News to find articles that will keep you up-to-date on any recent developments or challenges faced by the company.

 

3. Practice Makes Progress: (Read that Again)


Interviews can be extremely challenging, especially if you go into one swinging blindly at every question that’s asked. The way to increase your chances of having great answers that appear to come to you in an instant is practice. With practice you will always have something to say, and the beautiful thing is your answers will be smoother, more articulate, and you will sound prepared.


Action Plan:


· Research common interview questions: Compile a list of common interview questions for your industry and position. A simple Google search will help you find common questions.


· Practice your answers out loud: Record yourself or practice with a friend to refine your delivery. The key here is to practice out loud.


· Practice using the STAR method: When answering situational question (ex. “tell me about a time when…”) structure your answers using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This will help you organize your answer and will help you hit all the main points in your story to fully showcase specific examples of your accomplishments.

 

4. Interview the Interviewer: Ask Engaging Questions


Interviews are a two-way street. While it may seem like interviewers hold all the cards, that's not entirely true. At the end of an interview, you will have the opportunity to ask the interviewer any questions you have. This is your chance to get any clarification you need and to see if the company, manager, and role are a good fit for you.


Action Plan:


· Research the company: Ask questions based on what you learned about the company’s mission, challenges, and vision.


· See if the company is a good fit: Ask questions about the company culture, team dynamics, and opportunities for professional growth and development.


· Connect by showing interest: Show your curiosity by asking the interviewer about their role and the path they took to get where they are now.

By dedicating time to go over the job description, researching the company, practicing common interview questions, and crafting engaging questions, you showcase your genuine interest and preparedness. Remember, the interview itself is a small part of the battle. What matters most is the work you put in beforehand that ultimately gives you the confidence to smoothly navigate an interview. Because with the proper preparation you can prevent a poor performance.





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