If you’re reading this, it probably means you have landed an interview. Congratulations! Getting to this stage in the process is a huge step and deserves to be recognized and celebrated.
The big question now is: what’s next?
You have made it this far, so don’t fret! The world of interviews is constantly changing, but thankfully the core of the process stays consistent. It’s important to be prepared in every aspect possible, but the good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own.
Here are five recruiter-approved tips to help prepare you for your upcoming interview.
- Interview Preparation
Read the job description again, again, and then a few more times. When going into an interview, it is imperative you understand what the position is asking, and how your experience showcases the desired skills the interviewers are looking for.
Write down specific examples and use numbers when applicable. It’s important to be concise and to the point; the hiring manager should be able to easily follow along. Try to frame your answer into an SBO (Situation>Behavior>Outcome) or STAR (Situation>Task>Action>Result) format.
Review your resume. The hiring manager will have your resume pulled up during the interview; it’s important what you say matches what they have in front of them. However, all interviewers know there is more than what is on the paper, and this is where you get to go more in-depth about what you have on your resume.
Be prepared with your personal examples to exemplify the impact you left at each position you held, why that impact was important within the position, and for the organization as a whole. It’s also important to make sure you have answers prepared to share why you left each position.
- Know the Company A key part of the interview process is doing your due diligence and thoroughly researching the company prior to your interview. It’s important you understand how the company operates, their philosophy, and their values. Do they align with your own?
Write down information about the company you can use in your answers throughout the interview. Being able to showcase how you reflect their company philosophy and values through your personal examples will exemplify why you are a necessary asset for their team.
If you know who will be conducting your interview, research them. Utilize the company website and LinkedIn to understand their position in the company, as well as how it correlates to the position you are interviewing for. This will not only help you feel more comfortable in your interview, but it will allow you to prepare questions of your own.
- Mock Interview
Practice makes perfect! In 2023, virtual interviews are on their way to becoming the normal way of interviewing. The best part? For interviewees, this allows a prime opportunity to be as prepared as possible: a mock interview! Whether you are able to practice with a family member, a friend, or simply in front of a mirror or camera, being able to practice beforehand will set you up for ultimate success.
Set up your interview space exactly like you will have it for your real interview. Make sure your technology is up to date and working. Ensure that you have a clean background and understand how to use the ‘blur background’ feature on the platform where your interview will be conducted.
Dress like you are going to an in-person interview, head to toe. Avoiding the “business on top and pajamas on bottom” approach will help you feel more prepared and confident.
Practice responding to commonly asked interview questions using your personal examples to showcase your ability to be successful in this position. This will not only allow you to hear out loud what you have prepared, but you will feel more relaxed heading into your interview knowing exactly what you are going to say.
- Listen: Think First, Speak Second
Virtual interviews can present the pressure of feeling like you need to respond to a question the moment the interviewer finishes asking you something. Great news! You do not. Just like if you were at an in-person interview, you are allowed to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts, and then continue with your answer.
Not immediately rushing into answers will allow you to formulate honest, authentic responses to questions while being able to utilize your personal experiences. Interviewers are real people too. They understand that a candidate will need a few moments to gather their thoughts before answering a question.
Depending on the level of the position you are applying for or the stage of the process you are in, it’s likely at some point you will have a panel interview, where there is more than one individual conducting the interview. Being able to listen to their questions and taking a few moments to formulate adequate responses will showcase your stellar listening capabilities, which go far beyond an interview. It will show the hiring team your thoughtfulness, and ability to work in a team.
- Ask Questions!
Asking questions is something not enough candidates take advantage of during the interview process. Never be afraid to ask questions, because an interview goes both ways. When you are at the point in your interview where your interviewer asks you if you have any questions, always make sure you have some prepared.
Unsure of what questions to ask? Here are a few that will help you understand what type of company you are interviewing with, and if it’s truly a place you could see yourself continuing to grow:
- What is the company culture like?
- Is there room for growth through this position within the company?
- How important is diversity to the organization? What value does it bring?
- What certain qualities are you looking for in a candidate to fulfill this role?
- What is the remote work policy? (When applicable!)
- What is the interview process and timeline?
- How diverse is the executive board/team?
- How would you describe the team I would be working with?
- What is a typical ‘day in the life’ in this position?
Taking the time to ask the interviewer questions will not only give you much more insight into the role itself and the company as a whole, but it will also show the hiring manager your extreme interest in the position.
You’ve prepared yourself well. Now it’s time to impress.
Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before, eat a good meal, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself. You got this! By following these five strategies, you have done a great job of setting yourself up for success.
If you haven’t taken advantage of a professional recruitment service yet, there is no better time than now. Landing an interview is step one, but setting yourself apart from the rest is where it can be difficult. A recruiter can help ensure that you are able to demonstrate to the hiring manager why you are the asset they need on their team.
Working with a recruiter
You probably don’t interview every day—but recruiters do! They can offer you specific advice on what to wear, what to bring, and what to do to make the best first impression. A good recruiter, especially one that knows your industry well, can give you a big leg up by providing you with specific advice about what your particular interviewer wants to hear, which can’t always be found on the internet.
While they can’t possibly know everything about you, they do know the right questions to ask and can help determine what’s worth highlighting and what’s not. You will also have an experienced partner to help you dial in the perfect examples that are sure to please even the shrewdest of interviewers.
A recruiter will also cover any salary discussions upfront and share that information with the employer, so everyone is on the same page. And unless you’re significantly over or underpaid, they can often secure you a significant pay increase (assuming you’re currently employed).
For over a decade, Curtis Food Recruiters has been matching food and beverage professionals with prominent, rewarding career opportunities. As a full-service executive search firm specializing in the food manufacturing and grocery retail industries, we are dedicated to helping job seekers find (and land) the perfect positions. Contact us today so we can do the same for you.