The key to success is in the preparation. Before any job interview, you should be researching who and what you are interviewing for. That means doing your homework on the company, the culture, and the employees you may encounter in an interview process. Employers are looking for candidates who “get it” from the minute they walk in the door. The less work you make them do to prepare you for the job, the better off you are in earning their trust. This will not only help you win their attention and favor in an interview but also prepare you to step into a role and provide value right off the bat.
It all comes down to preparation and research early on in the interview process, which is the most important thing you can do as part of your job search. Here are four things to think about as you prepare for an interview to land your next job.
Focus on the Company
Your preparation should focus on learning as much as you possibly can about the company you are applying to work for. Do your research. Talk to industry professionals. Reach their blog. Follow the company and any corporate thought leaders on social media. Call to talk to a real person about the job if you can. Ask what it’s like to work there. What’s the culture like? How is the company growing? Make sure that your preparation includes actual background information about the people and the projects you will likely be working with. Even for contract jobs, this level of preparation is what companies look for in their ideal candidates.
Highlight Your Results
Great preparation is also about doing your homework on yourself. Take the time to prepare to speak well about yourself, and more specifically, your results. Think about the most relevant projects you’ve worked on that exemplify your impact to companies like the one you are applying to contract with. How have you made life easier for former clients? How have you delivered measurable results? How does that experience translate into greater success in your future work? Plan out how you will talk about these topics so that you can showcase your background and your achievements to prospective employers.
Provide Real Solutions
Hiring managers are evaluated continuously on being able to find the people who can make a difference quickly and efficiently. Employers turn to new hires and contractors because they need real solutions to problems they are suffering from right now. That urgency and need are what is driving their hiring decisions, so make sure you are ready with some suggestions, and excellent problem-solving skills, even as early as the interview. It will show you mean business and can make a real difference for the business. Do your homework to find out what problems they are looking to solve by hiring, then position yourself well to support those needs beyond the length of any contract.
Think Outside the Job Description
You can be sure that your employer is thinking in terms of overall staffing issues, whether or not they are listed out in a job description. Do your research on a company before interviewing. Are they looking to grow fast? Do they need people managers as well as project managers, to grow sustainably? The fact is that companies need to be strategic in who they do and don’t take the time and effort to onboard. To make sure you show how invested you are in the company, don’t think like you are only hired to help with a specific project. Think long term. How would you like to help the company beyond the terms of your original contract? Do you see other areas where you can help the business grow? These questions, while likely worth focusing on after you land the job you applied for, will help put you in the right mindset during the interview to show your commitment for both the near and the long term.