When preparing for an important job interview, you probably have a process you follow. Maybe you start by going over your application and preparing your answers to common questions you might be asked. Next, you review the job description, research the company, and make sure you’re up to date on the latest industry news. Finally, you pick out your interview outfit to ensure you make a good first impression.
These are all important steps in the interview prep process, but have you ever paused to consider the interview from the employer’s perspective? What is the employer looking to learn about you in the interview? What kind of interview questions might they ask to gauge your knowledge or test your skills? What does a successful interview look like to the employer? Here are three reasons why you should put yourself in the employer’s shoes during a job interview.
1. Connect with Your Audience
In order to ace your interview, you’ll need to first understand your audience. Start with the big picture and consider the organization as a whole.
- Research the company, read their blog, review their mission and values, and try to learn as much as you can about their workplace culture.
- Do you have contacts within the business or friends in the industry who might be familiar with their work? First-person sources are a great way to learn information about the employer that might not be on their About Us page.
Going in depth will give you a better understanding of who your potential employer really is and what you need to do to connect with them.
Next, dive a little deeper by checking out the company’s social media and profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
- Does the information presented on social sites align with the other details you’ve learned? Does the tone of their social posts match the personality that the company tries to project?
- This is also a good time to look into reviews and find out what employees and others are saying about the organization. Does the company have good ratings? How do they respond to negative reviews or criticism?
This information can tell you how the company follows their values and what’s most important to them.
Finally, determine who your interview is with and do a little digging.
- Are you meeting with a hiring manager from HR or the project manager on the team you might be joining? Will you be interviewing with one person or several at the same time?
- Try to learn a little more about each person you’ll be interacting with such as their professional background, where they went to school, and maybe even their hobbies and interests. This will allow you to connect with them in a more personal way during the interview itself.
- It’s also a good idea to prepare some specific questions for each interviewer. Ask about their role or responsibilities, get their take on relevant industry news, or discuss a common interest you share.
All of this information, from the company level down to individual employees, will help you to connect with your audience and make a great impression during your interview.
2. Anticipate the Questions
Now that you understand your audience and how to connect with them, it’s time to think about what information they are looking to gather from you. First, review the job description and note important qualities or required skills the employer will be looking for. You might have already done something similar as part of the application process, but it’s a good idea to double check and make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Once you have a list, spend some time jotting down notes on your skills and qualifications that speak to the items the employer will be looking for. Does the job require strong project management skills? Then be prepared to speak about your project management experience and consider how your answers will be perceived. Can you include data, specific numbers, or examples to support your statements? If so, your expertise will appear more tangible to the prospective employer.
Putting yourself in the employer’s shoes allows you to anticipate the questions you will be asked and craft responses that resonate with your interviewer. Even classic interview questions such as, “What’s your biggest weakness?” can be made more engaging when considered from the employer’s perspective.
Last, spend some time practicing your answers out loud or hold mock interviews with a friend. This way you’ll be well-prepared when it’s time for the real thing. And don’t forget to craft some thoughtful questions of your own to ask the employer in return!
3. Make a Perfect First Impression
While interviews are largely about a candidate’s qualifications and skills, we’d be lying if we said that first impressions don’t matter. After all, first impressions set the tone for the interview and might even impact how you are perceived as a new employee. That’s why, whether the interview is in-person or over video, making a good first impression is crucial.
This starts with your interview outfit. If the employer has a business or business-casual dress code, it’s probably best to stick to your basic professional look for the interview. On the other hand, does their social media show a casual and laid-back office culture? While it’s still a good idea to look professional, a business suit may seem out of place in this environment, so do your best to fit the vibe of the company.
Whatever you decide to wear, make sure you’re presenting yourself well. Maybe this means a pre-interview haircut, a fresh shave, or a nice manicure. Do whatever makes you look and feel your best. Feeling good about yourself can also give you an important confidence boost to help with those pre-interview nerves.
Finally, always come prepared with extra copies of your resume, a way to take notes (old school pen and paper or your preferred digital tool), and any other materials you might be asked to share during the interview. Putting yourself in the employer’s shoes and making sure you have everything you need for the interview will ensure you make a great first impression.
Ready to put your interview skills into practice? Search our open positions or reach out to get started with IDR today!