The goal of the initial interview is to continue the interview process and eventually receive an offer. Interviewing can be tough, even for seasoned veterans. Your preparation will allow you to enter the interview relaxed and confident that you know how you can fulfill the needs of the company and that they have an opportunity that can enhance your career.
Preparing for an interview is an important and often overlooked part of interviewing. By becoming self-aware and researching the company, you will be able to make a good assessment of how well the opportunity you are interviewing for, or position you are considering applying to, matches what you are looking for at this step in your career.
Before you interview you should have….
- Completed a self-assessment
- Developed 1-3 resumes
- Developed 1-3 cover letters
- Selected industries, positions, career paths and/or companies you are interested in pursuing
- Researched the industry, company and position for which you are interviewing
- Review your history and anything that appears on your resume
- Prepare and practice answers to commonly asked questions
- Engaged in a mock interview and received feedback from a career specialist (available through Big Interview)
Making the right plans for your future can be difficult. Starting with a self-assessment can assist you in making decisions about jobs by defining your skills, interests, values, achievements, strengths, and weaknesses. Employers today have many qualified candidates from which to choose. You will only be considered for a position if you can demonstrate that you know who you are and how your set of qualifications and personal qualities can benefit their company. Through the process of self-assessment you will be able to decide what contributions you can make to the marketplace. By becoming more self-aware, you will improve your confidence and your ability to directly answer questions about your qualifications and experience.
Review Your History
Read your resume. Be familiar with all of the duties, responsibilities, projects, and accomplishments from your work history and activities that are listed on your resume and those that are. Be prepared to clarify, explain, or provide examples of anything on your resume and how it ties in with the qualifications for this position.
Research the Company
Many candidates do not take researching the company seriously until after they have interviewed and they know the company may be considering them for the position. By researching the company before the interview, you can get an edge over many of the candidates and increase the likeliness of being considered for theposition. There are several advantages to this approach:
- You can determine whether this company matches your values and needs
- You may get more excited about the company and position
- You will be better prepared to ask intelligent questions during the interview
- Do I need to take a psychometric test? (Practice reasoning)
Ways to do company research
- Review the company website
- Utilize company databases via the Drexel Library
- Research print information such as trade magazines and national rankings
- Talk with people in the company (informational interview)
- Talk with people in the field who have knowledge of the company
Company information to obtain before an interview
- Core values (mission) of the company
- Company’s main products and/or services
- Primary customers
- Annual revenue of the company and the overall worth
- History, current status and future outlook of the company
- Company organizational structure
- Employees: total number overall and at the location you are interviewing
- Company’s top executives (CEO, CIO, etc.)
- Owner of the company
- Training programs
- Other job titles you are qualified for (possible other opportunities now or in the future)
- Policies and procedures (including dress code, work hours, flexibility in work hours, etc.
- Work environment (formal, informal …)
- Benefits (although you should not bring this up in a first interview)
Items to review on company website or library database
- Mission statement
- Annual report
- Employee Handbook
- Benefits information
- Recent press releases
- Articles about the company (Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, etc.)
Research the Industry
Questions to ask yourself (and where to find the answers)
- Do I know job titles in the industry that I would be qualified for? Dictionary of Occupational Titles
- What can I do with this major?
- Do I know the outlook for jobs in my industry? Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Do I know in what geographic areas there are opportunities for people in this field? Hoovers
- Do I know how to do a search in a different geographic area? Hoovers or Dun and Bradstreet (D&B)
- Do I know the salary range for the positions I am applying for (in each geographic area I’m considering)? Salary.com
- Do I know the names of the companies with major influence in the field? Trade journals, databases
- Are there any industry trends I should be aware of? Trade Journals, talking with people in the industry