Many career experts say job seekers need to do their homework on a company before going in for an interview. Even if the firm in question is a private business, that still doesn’t excuse you from doing your research to put your best foot forward.
These experts will tell you that gathering intel on a company early on is what distinguishes the great candidates from the good candidates.
Take for instance a large independent public relations agency. If an individual seeks to learn about the firm, he or she could try a couple of things. Of course you could always visit the company’s site, but you could also subscribe to a trade organization that specializes in PR. In doing so, you have a good shot at being exposed to other individuals that work at the firm you are inquiring about.
And there are even more creative strategies to try. Let’s say you find a press release online written by someone at the firm you’re interviewing with. You can always reach out to that individual and say, “I saw your press release and really enjoyed it. Could we set up a time to talk? I’m doing some research on your firm.”
To elaborate, the following techniques can help improve your shot at the interview:
- Be to-the-point
- Give examples
- Be truthful
- Stay a bit guarded
- Have good questions
Experts say rambling on and on in an interview is a common mistake job interviewers make. Make sure to listen to the question and answer it in a direct, concise manner. This is a fundamental skill for job seekers, and will keep the hiring manager from thinking you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Giving examples of work you have done is a much better strategy than just saying you know how to do something. Arrive at the interview with examples of your past work, and try to anticipate what questions the employer will ask based on the job requirements. If a recruiter asks if you know how to do a specific thing, you can say, “Yes, and here’s an example.” Make sure to follow up by asking if the example given answers the question.
It’s never a good idea to hem and haw around difficult questions–honesty is always the best policy. If there is something you don’t know how to do, just say so. Trying to cover it up with rambling speech won’t do you any favors. It’s a much better idea to talk about some related skills you might have.
Stay a bit guarded
Experts say job recruiters are either going to be very serious and straight-laced, or they will be affable and friendly. Either way, it’s best to keep up a serious front.
Even when you have an interviewer that is acting casual, putting you at ease, letting down your guard could cause you to say something inappropriate and step over the line. Remember the golden rule of job interviews: professionalism is key.
Have good questions
Finally, experts advise it is important to arrive with good questions in hand. Asking a really astute question is something that is sure to impress, and shows you’ve done your research about the company and about the specific job you’re interviewing for. It’s a small thing that will make the hirer really look at you as a qualified, competent candidate.