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Surviving an Interview
People are always looking for advice on how to get through an interview with success. This is because every interview is different: the interviewer changes, the company changes, the position changes. Luckily, the format of an interview is fairly consistent so we can put together a few bits of advice for you.
Before showing up to an interview you’ll want to have done some research. As they say, “Knowing is half the battle,” and this can’t be more true for job interviews. Luckily you have access to a wide range of information thanks to the internet. Social Media, Wikipedia, company websites, LinkedIn profiles; all of these outlets are great places to find useful information.
Most companies at this point have a social media presence. Some are more prolific than others but any bit of information is going to help out. This is a great place to get a feel for company culture. Look at the way people are dressed. Find out if there is a shared interest throughout the company: sports, movies, a deep love of 80’s music, etc.
If a company is large enough they’ll likely have a wikipedia page which means you’ll have access to company history. Show off what you know about the beginnings of the company and you’ll be in a good place.
Browse the company website and you’ll find a treasure trove of useful information: who they are, what’s their mission, services offered, and much more. Even if the position you are interviewing for is in a specific department it is important to have an understanding of the company as a whole and how it all works together.
Find out who is currently working for that company and look at their LinkedIn pages. This will give you a good idea of the kinds of people you’ll be working with. Look at their work experience and their current positions. This will tell you a bit more about what the company offers and who is doing the work. The person will also get a notification saying you’ve looked at their profile. This lets them know you’ve taken the extra step and did some research — every bit counts.
Dress the part
You’ll hear this one a lot, and for good reason. If your idea of dressing to impress during an interview for a financial position is sweat pants and a hoody then it’s unlikely you’re going to be hired. Maybe you’d have better luck if you were interviewing for a sweatpants modeling position. Some companies are more casual than others so wear something appropriate to the position and company you’re interviewing for. You may not need to wear a full 2-button suit but aim for something slightly more formal than what employees might be wearing. This is where preparing beforehand will be useful. Find out what the dress code is for a typical day. Social media will be your friend in this instance. Searching through their photos will be helpful.
Show your personality
It’s not just your education and experience potential employers are looking for. They want to make sure you’re able to fit in with their company culture. Being relaxed will help here, even if that seems impossible during an interview. If you do your research and prepare beforehand you’ll be much more relaxed and your personality will show more easily.
Stay Engaged Throughout the Interview
Nobody likes talking to brick walls. Therefore, it’s important to stay engaged throughout the interview by asking questions as they come up rather than waiting until the very end. This makes the interview seem more like a conversation and less like a lecture, which will thoroughly bum out everyone involved. It’s also going to help you because remembering all your questions is going to be difficult after a while. Also remember, an interview is as much a time for you to learn more about the company you’re applying to as it is them getting to know you. Staying engaged tells them you’re able to listen and think at the same time — an important skill that’s often overlooked.
Drink the water
At most interviews someone is going to offer you some water. You may feel like you don’t want to bother them or take up any more of their time than you already are, but halfway through that hour-long interview you are going to realize the only thing you can think of is how dry your mouth is. Your lips are going to chap and your tongue is going to stick to the roof of your mouth. Soon enough you won’t be able to form a sentence. You’ll think back to the beginning of the interview where you said, “Oh, no thanks. I’m fine,” and you’ll kick yourself — not literally, you don't want to bring any more unwanted attention to yourself. So for the sake of future you, take the water.
Heed this advice and you’ll get through your interview with ease. We’re not guaranteeing success, that’s up to you and the interviewer. Everything begins with being prepared and doing some research. Start there and the other parts will fall in line.