Knowing Your Interviewer
This can be difficult at times, especially when you do not know how to start. You could call the company, tell them your name and ask what they recommend you do in preparation for your interview and if they can tell you who will be interviewing you (if you do not already know).
If you are unable to talk to the company or a current employee, do not be discouraged because at least you made your presence.
Get to Know the Job You Are Applying For
This is essential! You need to know about a lot of stuff! How? Carefully examine the job’s description. If you have questions, email or call the person accepting the application (their contact info is usually at the bottom of the job description). Remember that the job description is just a synopsis of the things you are going to do. This also implies you might be required to do things beyond the description. Be prepared to speak about how your knowledge and experiences apply to that specific position.
Study the industry
In order to do this, you have to understand what the company is doing. Analyze the business by doing a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for:
Strengths: Identify what might be the strengths of the company.
Weaknesses: Ask what weaknesses it might have (sometimes it is the simplest of all things).
Opportunities: Evaluate what opportunities does the company offer, this could range from work benefits, to a healthy environment, to mobility in the work place by promotions.
Threats: Identify what threats the company frequently faces.
When you have a complete and concise analysis you can work with, it will give you a better and deeper understanding of the company and how it is part of an industry. From there, realize what the future prospects of the company are by identifying its current actions. Make sure you talk about this in your interview, as it can be used to your advantage to show your interest in the job. Your employer will see you have gone beyond what is expected.
Knowing About the Company
Start from the company’s website and browse. This is really important, especially because you can benefit from this EVEN after your interview when you start working in the field. READ everything on the “About us” section, including the organization’s mission statement and vision (Yes, they are similar but different like apples and oranges. They are both round but taste and look very different. You may also want to reach out to someone that already works there, just to see their perspective. They might tell you something that you should know. Keep it brief and thank them for their time.
Know Your Value
This is also commonly referred to as “what do you bring to the table”. It is very valuable to know what you are worth and to accept it. When fully aware of your value, that is when you can start to negotiate your salary or decide to move on to another job. Think to yourself: what do I have to offer to the company (this could be something it needs or a skill you have)? They might have somebody like you but they do not have you. Let them know how they will benefit from hiring you. This is part of the reason why you are applying, because you believe you are the best candidate for the job. Make sure you can give examples to express your point. If you are unsure, talk to someone who knows you well, e.g. a friend, teacher, supervisor, or family member. They will be able to tell you your strengths plus your weaknesses and why they like being around or working with you.
Meditate if it really pumps up your spirit, pray, or focus on deep, slow breathing. Do what best works for you. Remember that having the ability to think positively goes far. It’s called the power of positive thinking. Sometimes you have to “acknowledge verbally that you are nervous from the get go. Amazingly, somehow that can help settle your nerves”1.In other words, prepare yourself mentally and think with confidence.
But how? Remember this: the world is not going to end if you do not get the job, you can always try and try again. If nothing works out, become an entrepreneur with an Idea and most importantly a VISION.
What Are They Looking For?
They are not just looking to see if you are interested in the job. They are looking for you to prove you have had “accomplishments, a history of excellence, and evidence of taking on challenges (even if it this is part-time work) rather than someone who has wallowed through life”2. If you do not have anything you are proud of, then, my fellow friend, you have wallowed through life (keep in mind that an accomplishment can almost be anything). So get WORKING! Most importantly, be prepared to speak about how your skills and experiences match what the company is looking for.
Good luck! And my best regards Cesar A. Mendiola
1. Quote from Audrey Drumheller, In sales Associate at Livingston & Haven. Interviewed March, 2015.
2. Quote from Scott Humphries, Director of Training at Livingston & Haven. Interviewed March, 2015.