Applied to job(s)? Check. Phone call for an interview? Check. Interview? Not yet.
Pre-interview prepping is crucial and can make you a standout applicant in the pool. This can seem tedious and you may not think you have time for it with everything else already on your plate. However, it shows the interviewers that you are educated about the company, what they do and stand for, and what’s to come.
Where to start: the “About Us” section. This is where I’ll first get an idea about the company, their mission, and leadership. You can learn a lot about a company from these few paragraphs. This is also good to look at before even applying to decide if you might even be a good fit for the company. For me, if I don’t stand with the company values, I might find it hard to see myself working there.
Next up: research. For whatever type of job you’re looking for, whether it be management, research, clinical work, or design, look at what the company is currently doing. As someone looking for bio-based research, I’ll do this by reading recent publications by the particular research team. It’ll show the employer that you know what they are focusing on, what they found, and it’s a good point to ask questions about the research. Asking questions is always a difficult thing to do, but this at least gives you content to ask about.
These two points of “work” before the interview will make you more prepared going into the conversation. You’ll learn about the company and the kind of work you might be a part of, while showing the interviewers your interest in the work.
So imagine this: you are at a job interview, about 5-10 minutes early and are now in the interview waiting room, waiting for your interviewer to come down to meet you. This time waiting can actually affect your interview, so what you do (and don’t do) might have an impact on how your professionalism appears to the interviewer.
Do: Look over your resume. I remember being told in my co-op class to bring multiple copies of my resume in a fancy portfolio to interviews to provide interviewers with. Since your resume is most likely the only piece of paper they’ll have of yours, you better know what your own resume says! Hopefully you’ve reviewed it before, but a quick read over in the waiting area shows whoever might be watching you that you are committed to this interview.
Do: Have good posture. This carries over into the interview as well, but sitting up straight is important. The way you are sitting may be the first time your interviewer sees you and this also may impact how your reflection of professionalism. It’s not too long of a time frame, so straighten that back a bit!
Don’t: Play on your phone. I feel as if this varies. I’m the kind of person who says its a no, but we’re all entitled to our own opinion. Being on your phone can show that you are preoccupied with something else, such as emails, text messages, your social media, or myabe the latest level of Candy Crush. Tuck that phone away (on silent!) in your bag or pocket when you walk into the waiting area. You’ll look ten times more professional and can use the time to focus on the interview, not on other aspects of your life. (I promise they’ll still be there when you’re finished with interviewing.)
Job hunting is super stressful, at least for me. I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment. I feel that it’s so hard to find the right places to apply to and I don’t want to waste time interviewing for something I’m not actually interested in. Here’s how I’m working on it and hopefully some ways we can all benefit from:
Read, more reading, and a bit more. When looking at a job description, it can be very vague or super descriptive, and maybe something in between. It’s hard to find out exactly what you’ll be doing from just looking at a description. It helps to research the position on the internet – you’ll probably get some testimonials online as well as learn more about the role in that specific company.
Company matters. Potentially just as, if not more, important than the job itself is the company culture. You have to want to work somewhere in order to want to do your job. That “About us” tab on an employer’s website has a vast amount of information about what the company stands for, leadership, missions, achievements, even how they got started. It’s a good place to get a feel for the potential employer before you interview – and it shows that you did your research beforehand.
Questions. Ask questions in the interview about the company, your specific role, your interviewers’ roles, etc. It’ll teach you more about what you can do, where you’ll be, and what others do in the company, which may shed some light on whether or not this is somewhere you can see yourself working.
So get out there and hunt away! Use the time in the application process to really learn a lot about the company and position so that you can find the right place for you.