How to Prepare for an Interview
To prepare for National Career Day on January 25, we sat down with Craig McAndrews, Chief Strategy Officer and Mattress Firm, and Cory Ludens, Vice President of Culture & Events at Mattress Firm, to learn their tips on how to prepare for an interview.
How do you prepare for an interview?
There's a few things you can do to prepare for an interview, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to be yourself. Also, remember that an interview is simply a conversation between you and another person.
Here are three tips to prepare:
- Research the Company: Before the interview, take some time to research the company you are interviewing with, as well as the person who is interviewing you. This will allow you to see if the company is a good fit and can help generate some questions for you to ask during the interview.
- Role Play or Practicing an Interview: Practice the interview with a friend or family member and ask for their feedback. By going through a few practice rounds, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable during the actual interview. If you can't find a person to practice with, then talk to yourself in a mirror.
- Figure Out What Is Important: Spend some time writing out what is important to you in a career. This might be your first job, or your 10th career chance, but figuring out what is important to you in a career is essential. This can also lead to potential conversation points while interviewing and you can ensure the company is the right fit for you.
What should you look for in a career?
Whether you are looking for a new position or this is your first opportunity for employment, it is important to think about a few things.
- Is it the right fit? The first place to start is by researching the company where you want to work. Today this is very simple thanks to the Internet, and you can quickly learn what a company believes in and if it is a right fit for you.
- What are you passionate about? It is important to think about what you are passionate about. Every job will have functions and tasks that you may not enjoy doing, but overall you want to find a job that you are passionate about and has opportunities that excite you.
- Research the Interviewer: Take some time to research the person you will be interviewing with. See if they have ever spoken at a company event or written a blog post. By doing some background research on the person you will be talking to, you will be more prepared for that initial interview.
What are a few tips in creating a perfect resume?
There are three simple things to creating the perfect resume:
- Edit it: If you don't feel comfortable editing your resume on your own, ask someone else to review it. Mattress Firm wouldn't want a small error to be what takes your resume from the 'call this person pile' to 'I'm going to pass on this person pile.
- Make it Match: Make sure your resume matches your LinkedIn profile and any other site that people may find your information.
- Professional Email Address: Make sure you use a professional email address. While a fun email address may be appropriate to use with your friends and family, it isn't a great first impression for a resume.
What should you wear to the interview?
Years ago it was a standard requirement to wear a suit and tie to every interview. While that is still an appropriate way to dress, your outfit should be informed by the position you want. For an interview, it's a good idea to dress one notch above what would be appropriate for everyday on the job.
For example, if you interview in a place that doesn't wear ties, you can wear a tie to take your attire up a notch. That could be a difference maker. Also, bring your own brand and style into it. For guys in particular, ties, jackets and socks seem to be the areas where you can add a little of your own brand. It helps make a statement about you and communicate a little bit more about your personality.
Once you have landed the interview, what can you expect during it?
Every interview is a little different because an interview really just a conversation between you and another person. That conversation can lead you in many different directions. However, most interviews have a general structure about them. Most interviewers will ask you to walk through your resume and previous job experience. They will ask you a series of questions—there are no magic questions to study because you have no idea what the questions will be.
Many interviewers will leave some time at the end to ask some questions. This is why it is important to write down some things that are important to you in your career, because this is a great opportunity to ask questions related to your goals. You want to display what is valuable to you in the questions you choose to ask to the interviewer.
All interviews will be a little different, and the most important thing you can do to prepare is to understand that any interview is just a conversation. Mattress Firm encourages you to carefully review your resume and be yourself!