Information you must have BEFORE your interview.
Here are the top 5 elements you should be prepared for:
So, you’ve gotten through the hurdle of securing an employers interest in your resume but know the real challenge begins, the interview. The interview is no guarantee of a job offer but your chances will improve greatly if you properly prepare for it ahead of time. Here are the top 5 steps to help give you the best possible chance to leave a good first impression.
1) Understand the companies overall mission or in the case of the sports industry, understand the departmental goals.
Odds are that one of the first questions you will be asked during the interview is, “so, what do you know about us?” If you give a response that shows you did not perform any due diligence, you will be labeled as a “do not hire.” Go to the companies website and get a general feel for what they are about and what some of their current initiatives are, who are some of the key management personnel and then cross reference that information with general web research. Take a look at their recent press releases to see if there is any information that you can pick up. You should always look the company up on LinkedIn and even Facebook to get a sense for their messaging and branding identity. All of this research will help you get a clear picture of issues that matter to the company as well as help you speak “smartly.” Just be sure to address information that is relevant to the employer.
2) Check out the decision maker as well as the interviewer.
You should always get as much info as you can on the person you are meeting with. Search LinkedIn for how long they have been in the role, where they came from prior their current role as well as look at the groups he/she contribute to. Look for little background nuggets that you can use to build rapport.
3) Prepare supporting points to demonstrate how your experience, skills, and strengths are relevant and will benefit the company.
Any interview is the chance for you to learn about the company just as much as it for them to learn about you. Start by identifying the top five skills that are most important to the job and then focus on how you have demonstrated them successfully in your career. Be ready to provide case examples to help demonstrate specific points and achievements.
4) Be prepared with questions for the hiring manager.
Each interview takes on a different format but somewhere during the process the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. Always have questions prepared that have not been addressed or if they have been addressed, that you could benefit from some more detailed information. Asking questions can solidify a positive impression. A little research can go a long way. For example; you may be able to research some recent developments at the company (or the department you are looking to get into) that will have an impact on the company as well as the industry as a whole. Asking questions to express you are thinking ahead about the job and how certain developments may impact the business will detail your ability to bring value. It puts you in a position of thinking critically like an existing employee and lets the company see right away how you would fit in.
5) List of references.
Sounds obvious but many people forget to have at least three references in writing so you can fill out the application form that every company utilizes. Make sure to brief your references to the position(s) you are seeking so they can be aware.
6) Additional thoughts:
Preparing for an interview is about having the right state of mind but there are also other common areas to be prepared for that often get overlooked. One key element that is overlooked is to bring a notepad into the interview to take notes if need be. There is nothing wrong with this. It will also help you keep track of discussion points to use for your personalized thank you follow up letter. Small details like these can make a big difference.
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