How to Wow Interviewers Through Prep and Follow Up
Congratulations! Landing a job interview is a great accomplishment, but the real challenge lies ahead. Now that you’ve impressed the hiring team on paper, it’s time to wow them in real life (or through the phone). A great interview is more than just a Q and A — it’s an opportunity to dive deeper into your experience, display your personality and interpersonal skills, and learn more about your potential employer.
So, let’s discuss how to effectively prepare for this crucial conversation and what you can do afterward to truly stand out. Plus, we’ll cover a few faux pas to avoid during the process to ensure you present yourself in the best possible light.
How to prepare for a job interview
Pre-interview research is essential to show the interviewer you care and take the process seriously. While you probably won’t be expected to know every little thing about the company or the person you’re speaking with, a little prep can go a long way.
Re-read the job description
If you haven’t reviewed the job posting since you sent your application, revisit it before your interview. Think about how you can relate your experiences to what the role is looking for to prepare for potential questions.
Check out the company website
You don’t need to be an expert on the company’s origin story or history of acquisitions, but it’s a good idea to have some basic knowledge about your potential employer. Take some time to explore their website to get an understanding of the brand’s services or products, find out who is on the leadership team, and learn more about the company’s mission and values. That way, during the interview, you can tailor your responses to align with the organization's culture and objectives.
Look up your interviewer on LinkedIn
We promise, it’s not weird! In fact, taking a peek at the interviewer’s profile is a smart way to prepare for an interview. Not only can you gain valuable insights into their professional background and interests, you might discover you have commonalities like shared connections or the same alma mater. Be sure to jot down any questions about their role or experience, which can help build rapport during the interview.
Practice answers to common questions
It’s normal to feel some nerves during an interview making it trickier to think of answers on the spot. Do some research on common interview questions beforehand (making sure to specify by your field or industry as well) and think about how you would answer them. You might also want to craft and practice an informative but concise answer to the all-too-common ask: “Tell me about yourself.”
Prepare thoughtful questions
During the majority of the interview process, you’ll likely be the one answering questions. But a good hiring team should give you ample time to ask questions, too — and you should take advantage of it. You might inquire about the specific responsibilities of the role, the company's growth plans, or the work culture. Additionally, if you found something intriguing on the interviewer's LinkedIn profile, you could ask about it politely to showcase your genuine interest.
Avoid overstepping boundaries
While researching the interviewer is commendable, refrain from adding them on social media or asking overly personal questions. Respect their privacy and maintain a professional approach.
Following up after an interview
A strong post-interview follow-up can leave a lasting positive impression on the interviewer, reinforce your interest in the position, and even allow you to display positive traits like communication and follow through. This is an opportunity to flex some of your skills, especially for highly personable or communication-based jobs, such as sales or recruiting. However, you might keep things more to-the-point and less personal if you are applying to a more serious or technical position. Follow these tips to master the follow-up:
Send a thank you note
Within 24 hours of the interview, send a personalized email to express your appreciation for the opportunity and thank the interviewer for their time. In your note, reference a specific point from your conversation to display your attentiveness and keep the thank-you from feeling generic. Also, if you said you would share something with the interviewer, like an article or your portfolio, remember to include that as well.
Consider adding your interviewer on LinkedIn
If the interview went well and you established a good rapport with the interviewer, it may be appropriate to connect on LinkedIn. Of course, use your judgment, and don’t feel pressured to do so if it feels too forward or pushy.
Avoid excessive follow-up
While a thank-you note is typically appreciated, it’s usually not in your best interest to send excessive follow-up emails requesting updates. Give the interviewer time to decide, and if you don't hear back within the timeline they provided, a polite follow-up is acceptable.
Tackle the interview process with confidence
Interview preparation and follow-up etiquette can make or break a candidate in an interviewer’s eyes. Handle these steps well, as it could set you apart from other qualified applicants.
At System One, we’re dedicated to helping you land your next great opportunity. Check out our library of resources to help you throughout the job search process, from crafting your resume to negotiating an offer. Or, contact our team to learn more about how we can support you in your search.
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