Having interviewed dozens of people and having been interviewed by a handful of companies at this point, I’ve learned a few things about how to nail an interview. Not to brag, but I’ve never walked out of an interview without having received a job offer, and I’ve even turned down a few jobs. The most important thing I’ve learned is that while being personable in an interview is important, your interview fate is really decided before you even show up.
It’s all about prep.
The more you prep, the higher the odds are that you’re going to nail your interview. Preparation indicates that you have a strong work ethic, which is the toughest thing to screen for in an interview and also one of the most sought after traits that companies seek. Below are the things that I do before every interview I have.
- Website Research: Read every single page on your prospective company’s website. Focus in on any case studies, customer testimonials, or whitepapers that the company has published. This is a great way for you to learn the ins and outs of a business, and it’s also a great way to brainstorm some thought-provoking questions to ask.
- Competitor Research: Google “[company X] competitors” and look into the top 3 that you see. Try to determine the strengths/weaknesses of each competitor and how your prospective company compares.
- Customer Reviews: Google “[company X] reviews” and take a look at what consumers are saying. This is a great way to get insight into where a company is headed and how its functionality stacks up in relation to its competition.
- Employee Interviews: Do a LinkedIn search for people in your current job role at the company that will be interviewing you, connect with these people, and send them a message. If I could only choose one way to prep for an interview, it would be this way. You’re guaranteed to find information through this line of inquiry that you wouldn’t have discovered in the interview process, whether it’s good or bad. I know it can be difficult to reach out to someone you’ve never met, so I’ve included a sample message below.
- Hi [Name]. I hope all is well! I’m interviewing for [role Y] at [company X], and I’d love to talk to you to get some insight into your interview experience and what you think of your role. My schedule is flexible, so any time that’s convenient for you for a 30-minute chat would be great. Thanks!
All in all, the above process should take you about eight hours. This may seem like a lot of time, but if it lands you your dream job or a job above your pay grade, then you’ll be getting significant and clear ROI. There’s no substitute for hard work, but as the saying goes, hard work pays off.