🥳 Congratulations on receiving an invitation to interview! YOU did that! Your résumé impressed the hiring team so much that they want to hear from you in-person (or virtually). Regardless of what happens, the interview process is such a milestone and achievement in itself. It can be more intimidating than it needs to be. Most interviewers remind you that it is simply a conversation. Here are some ways to navigate that conversation and also to be able to ask questions about the company and culture. We’ll section this guide into three parts: before, during, and after interviews.
📝 Before the interview
- Take care of yourself. While it is easy to get carried away by grind culture and become really focused on the quantitative aspects and productivity of job searching such as the amount of interviews, rejections, emails back and forth, and so on. Remember that you existing is enough already. Take care of your wellbeing throughout the process, take breaks and ask for support when needed! You are enough as you are and it is crucial to find the role that is the right fit for you as interviewers are trying to find the right fit for them. Remember to be courageous and reschedule any interviews when you are feeling unwell or going through stressful situations. Here are some tips from Indeed to reschedule interviews.
- Research, research, research! Research the company or organization, interviewers if possible, current projects – all this can be found on their website or social media. This way you can intertwine it with your interview answers!
- Be your own bestie and focus on your strengths! While most interviewers may ask about “areas of improvement” or “areas of growth”, it is important to remember the transferable skills you bring to the table that are unique to your own holistic experiences that can enhance your answers and examples you give during your interview (Refer to our resume guide).
- Prepare your answers, references, and questions. Here’s an article on the 10 most common interview questions. If you remember any previous interview questions, you can compile a master list of interview questions and answers as well. Some people are good at speaking on the spot, but some would prefer writing their whole answer out or putting bullet points. However you do it, it is a great starting point to make sure your answer is clear and concise. Prepare a list of references if it was not asked in your application. Lastly, prepare questions for the interviewers, this is expected by the employers and shows that you are seriously thinking about what it would be like. Here are 31 questions to ask in a job interview.
- Practice your elevator pitch and interview. There are many guides on giving elevator pitches and most, if not all interviewers always have a “tell me about yourself” question. They want to get to know you, but pitching your memoir might not be a good interviewing tactic. Elevator pitches are short, concise, and state what you’re looking for. It is important to practice your interview with another person and if it is virtual, now is a good time to check your camera and audio settings (trust me, scrambling 5 minutes before the interview was not fun). This is a great time to reach out to your network or resources available to schedule a mock interview and hear the feedback afterwards. The more confident you are in your answers, the more comfortable you will be with interviews.
🤝🏽 During the interview
- Prepare and plan to arrive early. Prepare your interview outfit the day before (and make sure it fits to your liking), plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early especially if you are taking public transportation, identify a backup plan. I typically plan to find a coffee shop nearby to be in 30 minutes before so I can review any materials and be ready. For interviews online, record yourself and see how you sound on audio and visual and make sure your background is appropriate and make sure your internet is working properly. Sounding a robot and technical issues can really disrupt the flow for everyone involved in an interview. Some people also like to place something near their computer’s webcam to make sure they are providing virtual eye contact at some point in the interview.
- Make a great first impression. This means treating everyone you encounter with respect and being authentic and truthful. From the second you walk in or log in, you are making an impression for yourself. Are you slouching? Do you look genuinely excited to speak with them too? Do you already look like you don’t want to be there for a job you are wanting to be hired for? This also means that you don’t speak negatively about previous employers. Focus on what you have learned from experiences and what you want to do next.
- Remember the STAR method. Situation, task, action, result. Situation is providing context for what the challenge was or what happened before you did what you did, task is what needed to be done and why, action is what you did, and result is the outcome. Now that you have done all the preparation in your answers, if you ever get stuck – remember this guideline to provide a concise answer and to focus on your strengths. This article by Indeed provides an in-depth explanation of STAR.
📧 After the interview
- Ask about next steps (if it was not said or sent to you already). It is appropriate to ask either the interviewer, hiring manager/team, or recruiter about what to expect next or a timeline if it was not sent to you already. There will most likely be a follow-up email with results or any follow-up items required.
- Send a thank-you. If it is in person, ask for a business card so you can follow up individually. If you are interviewed on the day, send your thank you the same day. If it was in the afternoon, the next morning is fine. Use conversation points and notes you made during the conversation and tailor it to the person.
Do a little happy dance or treat yourself for doing all the things you did to get to this point. It takes a lot of courage, mental and emotional energy to be present for interviews, especially if you are doing many in the same time period. Regardless of the results, be proud of yourself and give credit where it is due (hint: it’s you)! 🌟