In the Home-Stretch: Preparing for the Interview

Navigating the world of interviews and résumés can be overwhelming and stressful whether you’re a new college graduate or a professional looking for a new position. Even if you aren’t driven to achieve CEO status, every professional wants a career that is moving forward and on the right track. But how do you get there when the competition is out of sight? Luckily, there are things you can do to show potential employers that you take your future very seriously and you are worth a second look. All it takes is a little more homework.

First of all, your résumé is your opportunity to land the coveted interview. In a sea of résumés, make sure yours really stands out by customizing your résumé and cover letter to the position and organization. Show the hiring manager that you have put some thought and attention into your application. But in order to create a perfectly tailored résumé, you must investigate your future employer.

Research will also help you prepare for a successful interview. How do you possibly prepare for an interview? It might seem impossible, but demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the company is sure to impress your interviewer. Understanding the industry, company and position will make your interview more productive for you and your potential employer:

  • Industry Research will reveal where the field is headed and how the company stands in that future. You’ll have an awareness of the other players and competition in the industry as well as how professionals in the industry are paid and promoted.
  • Company Research will reveal the organization’s culture, financial status and stability, which is crucial in determining your future with the firm. Understanding the company culture and core business principles will help you explain why you’re interested in interviewing with the organization to your interviewer. Ultimately, before any interview, you should educate yourself about the company's mission, products and services, sales volume, locations, divisions, partners, and plans for growth so that you can ask valuable questions and engage the interviewer in a meaningful way.
  • Position Research will reveal the qualifications and talents best suited to that position and help you prepare for the interview questions. Thoroughly understanding the position and its needs will enable you to more confidently answer surprise interview questions. You will also have the opportunity to identify the strengths and experience you bring to the table, and which weaknesses you can work on in order to present that information appropriately to the interviewer.

With your educational career in the past, you thought the homework days were behind you. But as you know, a little homework can go a long way. If you’re not certain where to find this information, my Career Search Organizer can point you in the right direction. Just remember: a well-studied interviewee really stands out. Not to mention, a little investigation will help you prepare pointed, thoughtful questions that will get the information you need as well as show the employer that you are a quick study. Ultimately, your preparedness and enthusiasm for the company and its goals are sure to leave a lasting impression with your interviewer.

Lauren Randa Hasson, President & Founder
The Résumé Girl - Landing a job requires more than credentials alone!

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