Preparing for an interview is one key part of landing a job, and with the right approach, even your first interview can be a success. Beyond the givens of impeccable dress, good eye contact and a great résumé, take advantage of your opportunity by following these pointers.
- Do your homework. There’s no doubt you will have researched the company you’re interviewing with, but do you know what’s going on in the industry as a whole? Trends change at a rapid pace, and the company will want people who keep up with and know how to utilize these changes. If you’re interviewing right before or after the New Year, it’s a good idea to know what’s trending high for the upcoming year.
- Do ask questions. Since you’ll be taking diligent notes throughout the interview, be sure to jot down intriguing questions to ask at the end of the interview. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions as they come up and demonstrate you’re engaged in the conversation.
- Do grab the steering wheel. Remember, you stood out enough on paper to merit this interview, so the company is clearly interested in you. If you’re not as comfortable with some topics or a question catches you off guard, ask an intelligent question or use the materials you brought (i.e., your portfolio) to steer the conversation.
- Don’t over-prepare. Analyzing every scenario imaginable will keep your head spinning and could leave you rigid during the interview. There’s nothing wrong with preparing answers to common questions and reviewing industry trends, but give yourself some room to speak extemporaneously and demonstrate your confidence.
- Don’t exaggerate your experience. Just because you’ve tweeted on behalf of a previous organization doesn’t mean you’ve run an integrated social media marketing campaign. Be honest about your experience and indicate your eagerness to learn new skills or refine current strengths.
- Don’t use vague examples. If you’re asked situational questions where you draw on other experiences, be as specific as possible. Ideally, you should strive for examples with tangible results where you were able to help increase a certain metric or even diminish negative ROI. Stay away from generic illustrations and show why you will be an asset to the agency.