In this article, we’ve gathered five insightful tips from founders and HR executives on what they wish candidates knew before a job interview. From understanding that interviewers root for your success to the importance of authenticity, these professionals share their valuable perspectives.
Interviewers Root for Your Success
Most interviewers are on your side, silently wishing for you to perform well during the interview.
As a recruiter, I’ve interviewed thousands of candidates. Whenever a new person sat across the desk, I hoped they would do great. And it wasn’t just about being altruistic; it also made sound business sense. Their successful interviews meant we were one step closer to finding the perfect candidate for the job. So, I was always happy and relieved when candidates came in well-prepared, demonstrated a solid understanding of our company, and showed genuine interest in the job.
Before your next interview, remember that interviewers are in your corner. They are most likely rooting for you, as your good performance creates a win-win scenario for everyone involved.
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Thorough Research Boosts Interview Performance
As an executive recruiter, I speak to thousands of top-tier leaders every year. One thing I always prep candidates for before a job interview is the importance of thoroughly researching the company and role they’re applying for. You have to go beyond a quick look at the company website. I want my candidates to know the company’s recent news, its competitors, and industry trends. This equips them to ask informed questions during the interview and helps them tailor their answers to show how their skills align with the company’s goals and challenges.
A deep working knowledge of the company’s publicly available information allows you to go into the interview confidently, which fosters a certain kind of curiosity in the ensuing conversation that I’ve noticed employers appreciate.
Overall, research empowers candidates to present themselves as knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the opportunity, which can significantly boost their chances of making a lasting impression on the interviewer.
Bring an Understanding of the Company’s Vision and Mission
One thing I wish candidates knew before a job interview is what the company does and how their unique skills can help the company. Unfortunately, in my career as an HR professional, I often come across candidates who have very little clue about what the company does. They simply go through the job posting and see if it matches their skills and requirements. While this approach is not wrong, delivering the best also depends on a lot of factors.
For example, the industry, the range of operations of the company, and so on. So, as much as we consider if a candidate could be a good match for our organization, our selection process would become much more refined if candidates could also do the same and see if the company is a good match for them or not. For that, they should have a thorough knowledge of the company, the industries it deals in, plus its vision and mission.
Ask Thoughtful Questions During the Interview
After successfully navigating your way through an interview and checking all the boxes, you don’t want to leave the interviewer with the wrong impression.
So, when they ask, “Do you have any questions you would like to ask?”, make sure that you have something prepared! “I’m not sure” isn’t a great way to leave things.
I would ask, “What are the key performance indicators you use to measure success in this position?” or “What opportunities for professional development and growth are available to employees in this role?”
These thoughtful questions not only provide insights into the company for you but also demonstrate your engagement in the interview and commitment. Remember, it’s important to tailor your questions to the specific job and company, avoiding queries easily answered through basic research.
This strategy can set you apart as a prepared and interested candidate while benefiting your own decision-making process.
Authenticity Ensures Right Job Fit
I wish more candidates realized that it’s best to be authentic and not pretend to be someone they’re not. While everyone wants to portray the best version of themselves, it’s such a shame when the person hired isn’t like the person who started! Being honest about your capabilities and requirements means the best person gets selected for the job.
These valuable insights from HR professionals shed light on crucial aspects candidates should focus on before an interview. It is also important to understand that interviewers genuinely root for a candidate’s success as they’re looking to hire. Thorough research, going beyond the basics, understanding the company’s vision and mission, asking thoughtful questions, and being one’s true self significantly enhances interview performance.
As candidates navigate the interview process, incorporating these perspectives can contribute to a more successful and mutually beneficial outcome.