Up For Your Dream Job? Here's Why You Shouldn't Skip On Interview Prep

Posted on July 8, 2021 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, For Candidates

When interviewing for high level tech roles, there are intertwining elements that contribute to the success or flop of that interview. As talent professionals, if we had to identify one of the biggest hurdles in getting from point A to point B, it’s having candidates genuinely invest in the interview preparation process.

If you’re thinking, “how does anyone have time for interview prep?!,” allow us to explain how it can be the difference between securing a great job or being rejected. In a nutshell, spending time preparing ensures you’re ready and in the best position to present yourself as desirable and hirable.

Why Candidates Shouldn’t Blow Off Prep Even If They’re Busy

If the BWBacon team had a dime for every time a candidate missed a crucial piece of interview prep, showed up underprepared, or didn’t show up at all, well, we’d have a sizeable pile of dimes. We also understand that working or taking care of your family while searching for a new role can max out schedules and bandwidth. However, whatever amount of time you’re willing to spend familiarizing yourself with the role and the company proportionately contributes to how prepared and confident you feel when starting that interview.

For many of our clients, showing knowledge, insights, or personal reflections on the company, the product, or their cultural values goes a long way. Flip the script for a moment, if you were planning to hire someone to grow your company, wouldn’t you expect that person to speak towards why this potential relationship could be great? Or be able to express why they have interest in applying for this role in the first place?

We think so, and that’s the foundation of why interview prep is so important. Furthermore, with so many changes in remote work policies, it behooves candidates to keep track of which companies have which types of policies. No one wants to jump on a call talking about their remote work preferences when the company has an onsite policy; both parties are left feeling confused and lacking alignment, and in some cases, this could lead to a rejection.

184- Up For Your Dream Job, Heres Why You Shouldnt Skip On Interview Prep Internal1

Your Recruiter Can Help Simplify The Interview Prep Process

If you’re working with a recruiter, it’s common they will have a hand in sending you interview prep or providing information for meeting the hiring team. Our team is diligent about providing as much information as possible about a role, including its expectations, compensation and benefit packages, plus any other information on the company’s culture, potential for growth and expansion, and the interview process itself.

When you know what to expect, there is less stress surrounding your upcoming interview. Beyond what’s provided by your recruiter, researching the company, anticipating the interview questions, and getting your head in the right space are three easy ways to simplify the interview preparation process.

Get A Leg Up By Doing Research On The Company

Research is a must when preparing for an interview, and for good reason. Nothing shows you are genuinely invested in the opportunity like asking questions about the company or sharing your knowledge of their product. Looking into a company’s history, teams, or goals also informs how to present your personal experience in an effective way. When interviewing candidates, the company is looking for people who share their values, giving you an opportunity to speak towards that alignment.

Plus, it takes less than ten minutes to boot. We strongly encourage candidates to jot down a few notes, and prepare questions to ask if there is time. Maybe you're wondering how this organization approaches intersectionality and inclusion? Need clarification around the remote work policies? See if you can find the answers online or through talking with your recruiter or friends, but if not, write it down!

You can also research a company’s financial history…

  • Have they had a recent merger or acquisition?
  • Have they opened any new offices recently?
  • Are they a startup?

Their executives and team makeup…

  • Rely on LinkedIn to get more information on the leadership team and where experience they have.
  • Read any related articles on the company’s growth or change in leadership to be in the know.

Their internal culture…

  • These days, it’s easy to find out the type of culture companies have by going on LinkedIn, Google reviews, or Glassdoor.
  • Learn more about vetting a company’s culture during an interview with BWB’s post on the topic.
  • See what people are saying about how the company handled their teams during the pandemic, or their efforts towards equity and inclusion.

Plan A Few Answers Ahead of Time

It’s fair to say that most people feel a bit of nerves or apprehension during an interview. In order to combat the interview sweats, try preparing a handful of answers to commonly asked interview questions. Practice your answers with a friend, roommate, or heck, even call your mom to go over a few lines that represent your best traits, or accomplishments you’re proud of.

Here are a few common questions and tips on how to answer:

  1. Why do you want to work for our company?
    • Hiring managers ask this question intentionally to pinpoint how much you know about the company. They are trying to gauge your response and how interested you are in their mission and services or product, so it’s a chance to show your excitement about the role.
  2. Why are you looking for a new job?
    • Be careful of this question, as interviewers often ask it to weed out folks who were fired from a job or who aren’t truly invested in this job in particular. Focus on the positives and what drew you to this role or why you believe it would be a good opportunity. In other words, this question gives you a moment to speak to how much you could contribute to this role and that it’s not just any other job.
  3. Can you tell us something about yourself or one of your passions?
    • While it’s completely appropriate to share a technical project related to the role at hand, this question can also let your individual personality shine. Prepare an answer to this question that’s a general elevator pitch for who you are. Focus on your career path and how your unique experience would contribute new ideas and perspectives to their team.
  4. Why should we hire you to work for our company?
    • The more specifics you are able to provide with your answer, the easier it will be for a hiring team to determine what it would be like if you started working there. Reiterate your years of experience, any stats on your personal accomplishments or projects, and summarize your achievements and the value you would provide if offered the role.
  5. Tell us about a time you had a challenging situation or overcame a conflict at work.
    • This question may be the most loaded of them all. When hiring managers ask you to tell a story of struggle and triumph, they are looking for the ways in which you handle stress or adverse circumstances. This is a great opportunity to frame your problem-solving skills, and show the ways in which you are able to adapt and think on your feet.

184- Up For Your Dream Job, Heres Why You Shouldnt Skip On Interview Prep Internal2

Seize the Moment

If you’re growing your career, we cannot stress the importance of interview prep enough. Comprehensively preparing for an interview helps you exude confidence. With the pace of hiring in today’s talent market, doing research, preparing answers, and finding cultural alignment also helps candidates make decisions with ease if an offer is made.

During your actual interview, remember it is ok to take your time answering questions. If you feel yourself freezing up or wanting to amend a response, don’t worry too much about sounding incompetent or slow, we’re all human! Take a minute to think. You could even add, “now that’s a great question, I would have to say…” and jump right back in. Remember, this is a chance to seize the moment, and let your skills and experience really shine.

Finally, reflect on how each and every step of the interview process serves an intended purpose. Even if you do not know every step of the process ahead, it’s safe to assume you’ll have some kind of phone screen that covers the basics, behavioral interviews or reference checks to determine how well you would fit in at an organization, and technical assessments that measure how your skills fit the company’s needs. Knowing why these steps exist can help you make a plan to rock your next interview.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!