You have a job interview! Now what?
Well for one thing, you need to dress the part. You also need to be prepared to answer the dreaded salary question. And of course, you have to get ready to negotiate for your life.
But you’re not done yet. Don’t you dare go into that interview without first doing your goddamn homework. Here are your assignments.
Research the position
Well before your job interview, you need to research the job itself. Not just at this company, but at competing companies as well.
What are some of the skills you’ll need to perform this job? How do others succeed at the job? What tools should you be familiar with? What kind of hours are you expected to work?
You need to know the answers to these questions so you won’t be blindsided during the job interview. If you sound like you know how to do the thing, you’ll automatically stand out above everyone who says “I don’t know how to do the thing yet but I can learn!” Optics are like 30% of your grade, after all.
Ask around your network
Know someone else who does this job? Someone who’s done this job before? Ask them to walk you through a day in the life of a corporate drone/retail worker/international crime lord. What better way to understand what will be expected of you while negotiating a clandestine arms deal with a rival syndicate?
Ask them what they’d look for in their replacement. Or what they wish they’d asked during their job interview. Fore-warned is 4-armed as they say!
Research the company
At the very least, read the company’s website. Google the company’s name and see what news articles pop up.
Go through their cranky Yelp reviews. Check out their products and familiarize yourself with their new ad campaign. Have they recently been covered in the news? Was it favorable coverage or negative coverage?
You want to be prepared to answer the question “What do you have to offer this organization?” with specifics. And understanding their strengths, weaknesses, current goals, and customers is a great way to formulate that answer ahead of time.
Be prepared to compliment them on their business (“I was really impressed by how you recently evaded capture by the FBI by bribing a federal judge!”) and identify areas for improvement (“Have you considered branching out into the lucrative market of bootleg Russian nesting dolls?”)
Behold the wonders of Glassdoor
One of my favorite resources for the insider scoop on potential employers is Glassdoor.com.
Not only does Glassdoor enable you to search for jobs, but it provides company reviews from current and former employees. So if you want someone to spill the tea on what it’s really like to work for a particular employer, hit up Glassdoor.
And possibly the most useful aspect of Glassdoor? It serves as a database of estimated salaries based on industry, region, tenure, and experience. This can be a major weapon in your arsenal if you get asked about your salary expectations.
Research the industry
News? Trends? Hot topics? New regulations? What are their competitors up to? What new technology is affecting how they do business? Is a new tariff affecting their illicit importing activities? Has a turf war between rival gangs destabilized the market?
During the job interview, you want to prove that you’re not just in it to find any job. You’re looking for an opportunity to do this job at this company in this industry because you’re interested in it. You care about it, you’re knowledgeable about it, and its culture aligns with your own values.
Your potential employer will be impressed with your background knowledge and relieved to know you can hit the ground running without a crash course on the industry.
Study up on these other tips before your job interview:
- 10 Questions You Should Never Be Asked in a Job Interview
- Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Dude
- What To Wear (and What Not to Wear) To a Job Interview
- What To Do When You’re Asked About Your Salary Requirements in a Job Interview
Come up with a six-month plan
What is it going to take for you to be successful in your first six months working at this job? What are you going to do in that time to quickly familiarize yourself with the business? How are you going to identify problems and inefficiencies and come up with solutions to fix them? How are you going to implement a strategy for fulfilling the company’s mission?
I realize I was just a “synergy” away from a swirling black hole of corporate-babble, but stay with me here.
Answering each of these questions for yourself will help you to create a formal plan for your first six months on the job. Even if it’s not appropriate to have this six-month plan with you on paper during the interview, memorize it. It will impress the hell out of your potential employer if you show up and demonstrate that you know the answers to these questions for yourself.
Just be sure not to give too much away in the job interview. You don’t want your potential boss to steal your plan for undermining their rival crime lords with a classic bait-and-switch and leave you… still unemployed.
Fulfill a specific need
Don’t be afraid to get specific and creative. A six-month plan is impressive in many scenarios! But more creative industries might be more impressed if you walked into the job interview and pitched an independent project. You could crush an interview for a sales position by presenting a list of three new sales leads.
All your research could reveal a specific need or problem with the company. Whether it’s a six-month plan, a project pitch, or sales leads, it could benefit you greatly to walk into the job interview with an idea to fix it.
Armed with your encyclopedic knowledge of the industry, the company, the position, and your first six months, you’re now ready to tackle that job interview like [insert football joke here… fuck if I know, man].
Don your full battle armor, hold your head up high, and prepare to conquer.
You should approach this interview with all the assurance of a Westerosi queen who has just murdered the last of her enemies. Or at least, the unearned confidence of a mediocre white man in corporate America.
But remember to temper your confidence with humility and genuine, earnest enthusiasm and friendliness. For just as you don’t want to look nervous and shy, you also don’t want to come off cocky or insufferably all-knowing. Leave room for your natural competence, brilliance, and congeniality to shine through!
And if all else fails, be prepared to sell them the secrets of a rival crime ring.
10 thoughts to “How To Get Ready For a Job Interview: Prep Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”
I may or may not have an important interview on Monday, so this is going to get re-read a ton before then! I will have to channel my inner Bitches to totally crush it.
YOU GOT THIS!!!! Definitely let us know how it goes.
Gah! How perfectly timed is this post. I just applied for a job I would love, under a manager I adore, and in the town that I want to move to. My hopes are not up at all…
That being said, I very much appreciate this post as it is a great strategy for going into an interview. I’ve always prided myself on being good at interviewing, but getting up into management in the corporate world is getting trickier. Thanks for the roadmap.
You’re quite welcome!!! And keep us in the loop about your interview. I hope it goes well!
“Or at least, the unearned confidence of a mediocre white man in corporate America.” Love it. Your blog is awesome.
Aw shucks. 😉
I’ve had between four and seven interviews every week for the past three weeks. I am getting so tired of talking about myself, but I’m changing careers so there’s a lot to explain.
It’s tempting to pre-record a few different answers to the “walk me through your resume” question and just pick one to play each subsequent time I’m asked. I obviously will not do this, but in stressful moments where I feel like a particularly loose cannon, it crosses my mind.
I totally feel you, L. Mr. Kitty is doing the same thing right now, and it’s exhausting constantly telling the career change story. For phone interviews, I actually suggested he keep a note on his desktop with a loose “script” in bullet points, so that once he finds language that works well he can remember and reuse it. Good luck in your big change!
This is such a great post that you are providing and you give it away for free. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable information.
Just doing my job, ma’am. 😉