By: Amy Petersen

The holidays are behind us which means it’s time for you to make good on your “find a new job” New Year’s resolution. My inbox might have been empty since Thanksgiving but not anymore. This is what we HR people like to call our busy season and to help you help us I have compiled a few interview tips that will set you apart from other candidates.

  1. Be Prepared – this might be interview tips 101, but you would be surprised how many people don’t do their homework. First and foremost, research the company. Learn the basics of who they are and what they do. Secondly, understand the role you are interviewing for and the purpose the position serves in the company. Next, research your interviewers. Today, being prepared goes beyond researching the company. Look them up on LinkedIn or the company website. Lastly, bring a copy of your resume and any samples of your work that support your qualifications for the position.
  2. Ask Questions – use the research you have done to prepare questions to ask the interviewer. Ask questions about the company, the culture, the person you are interviewing with, the team, the leadership and management styles and of course the position. Bring a notebook with your questions already written down and use it to take notes during the interview. This can help you remember questions that might come up during your conversation. If you have questions about compensation, time off or benefits, we suggest reaching out to the HR contact instead of asking the interviewer. We cover all of this information prior to the in person interview but if it that isn’t the case or you need clarification, HR would be your best point of contact since they typically handle compensation packages.
  3. Dress for your Audience – we have always heard it’s best to suit-up for an interview but times have changed. The way you dress can say a lot about a person and how they will fit into the company culture. During your research pay attention to the culture of the company. Is everyone wearing jeans in the social media posts, do they talk about a relaxed environment on their website, is everyone dressed in business attire in their LinkedIn profiles? If you are ever in doubt regarding appropriate attire, reach out to your HR contact.
  4. Prepare for Behavioral and Cultural Based Interview Questions – today’s interview questions go beyond the generic tell me about yourself. Interviewers are looking for specific examples of your experience and a generic answer won’t cut it. In today’s world, we all have to be storytellers. Here are a couple of examples.   

     Explain a time when you identified someone else’s difficulties at work. What, if anything, did you do to help them.
    What complicated problems have you had to address in your job? Describe how you identified or gained a better understanding of the problem.

  5. Thank You Notes – if you think thank you notes are a thing of the past – you are wrong. Although a written, mailed thank you note might not be the route to take any more, a thank you email is a must. Also, if you are interviewing with more than one person, make sure to personalize each thank you email. Reference some of the topics covered in the interview. Give specific examples of why you would be a good fit for the position and the company. This is where the notes you took during the interview come in hand.

The truth is, no matter how good you look on paper if you don’t ace the interview, you’re not getting the job. It’s all about bringing you’re A-game and even though I can’t guarantee you will land the job just by following these interview tips, I can ensure that the above can help you bring it.