Getting an interview is exciting after submitting countless resumes. That is, until the panic sets in.
Job hunters looking to show up prepared to an interview should look no further than the original job posting. Most employers carefully craft these descriptions and use them to frame candidate performance and fit.
With the job posting in hand, use these five tactics to wow interviewers and get the job.
Look for keywords
If you want the job you’ve got to talk the talk. Using the same language as the job posting shows an understanding of the company’s needs and can help with the technical aspect of applying.
At the resume stage, many companies use automated filtration systems. Finding the words that are repeated in a job posting and peppering them thoughtfully throughout your cover letter and resume will help get it in front of a hiring manager. Be sure required skills are included, too—it doesn’t hurt to reiterate that you have experience with Node.js or Adobe programs.
Once you get to the interview, keep these keywords in mind. Think about how the company might ask about a time you met the leadership requirement or a project when you used responsive design principles.
Turn tasks into examples
Job descriptions always provide a list of responsibilities or tasks that the new hire is expected to deliver on. Prepare for the interview by turning each item into a question and thinking of a project or scenario where you met the requirement.
If the job description says you’ll need to explain technical things to non-technical audiences, think of a specific example where you did that successfully. The more detail you can add, the better. If you don’t have a long resume, this is a great opportunity to tie in volunteer or school experience.
The list of responsibilities also provides an opportunity to deflect the dreaded question about weaknesses. Take one of the least important requirements and think about how you could improve upon your skills. This shows your understanding of the role and willingness to grow within it.
Numbers don’t lie
Most job postings include a description of the company in plain terms. You can tell a lot about a potential employer based on whether they provided hard facts about:
- How long they’ve been in operation
- The company’s current and previous products
- Number of operational countries, zones, or clients
If the position is limited as remote, it’s also worthwhile to determine whether the company is remote first, remote-friendly, or distributed as we’ve talked about before.
If the job posting doesn’t include this paragraph and you can’t find a similar one on their website, this hints the company might not know how to explain what it does. That should be a major red flag for any potential employer.
All hiring offers are made based on technical skills and company culture. When you’re interviewing, it’s important to verify that you see yourself fitting in the company’s culture. A startup might lack structure and formal processes, while a government gig takes both to the extreme. Think about what’s important to you before taking the interview.
Job postings usually provide bits and pieces of insight into the company’s culture. Are there references to game nights or team building exercises? How does the role fit into other members of the team?
If these answers aren’t provided, don’t hesitate to bring them up in the interview.
Research the interviewer
Usually, an interview will include the hiring contact as well as the direct manager (sometimes, it’s the same person). Researching the people who will be interviewing you never hurts in the preparation process.
Companies often have staff pages with blurbs about each full-time employee. If they don’t, finding the interviewer on social media or LinkedIn is the next step. Knowing that you share an alma mater with the hiring manager or that the recruiter hates people who show up more than 5 minutes early can be played to your advantage.
Bringing it together to get the job
On the day of the interview, make sure you have all this information ready but not memorized. The goal is to have an understanding of the role and the company’s goals, but it’s key to be natural and not rehearsed.
Showing an interest and an understanding of the role ticks one box. Let your professional knowledge tick the other.
Before you test out your interview skills, you’ve gotta apply! Authentic Jobs has you covered.