You finally landed a job interview—now prepare yourself

Even in a candidate-driven market, you may find yourself coming up short in getting what seems that perfect job. What went wrong? Perhaps, your interview skills need refreshing. There is only so much a recruiter can do to sell a candidate to a potential employer. It’s ultimately up to you to bridge the gap between paper and reality, and typically, it’s a matter of two simple things.

Knowledge and preparation are the keys to propel you to success. Knowledge of oneself and the ability to convey with confidence and intelligence your strengths, weaknesses and past experiences are essential. But also, understanding how do they translate to the requirements of the job? You have to answer the “why you” question decisively and with conviction. Knowledge of the interviewer enables you to craft your responses depending on their role in the company and the hiring process, placing importance on what they are specifically looking for. Then, there’s knowledge of the company itself. There’s the obvious, of course, but dig deeper. Check out their website and be familiar with their mission statement and core values. Read their blogs and newsletters, especially focusing on articles from potential colleagues, the department head, the CEO and even your interviewer. Immerse yourself in company facts and news, a great way to better acquaint you with their culture.

Quite simply, do your homework. With a quick search of the web, you can learn more about a company than you ever dreamed.

Landing a new position isn’t always easy, for sure, but it doesn’t have to be hard and grueling. If you are fortunate enough to be called in for an interview, you’ve already passed a few tests, so be prepared. Make sure you can directly relate your experience and background to what the job requires. Always prepare at least three or four concise, clear, thought-provoking questions to ask your interviewer, as several will likely be answered simply through conversation. Most importantly, listen. You will have plenty of opportunities to reaffirm how you are the best fit for the job. Take advantage of the conversation and the direction it takes to express your qualifications for the role. Sales 101 states to first ‘find the pain.’ Once you’ve found that pain, show how you, and all of your experience, are the solution. Your resume cleared the first hurdle. Your demeanor on the phone got you an on-site interview. Now, it’s time to cross the finish line by proving what makes you the best choice!