How to prepare for an interview in the middle of the big resignation

As employees continue to quit en masse, companies are at war for talent. But despite being a job seekers market, the interviews are still nerve-wracking. Here’s how you can best prepare for your interviews and land the job.

PPreparing for an interview, no matter how good the job market, is always daunting. With a folder 48 million Americans quit their jobs last year amid the big quit – a trend that shows few signs of slowing – and more 11 million open jobs, employers are fighting to recruit the best talent.

But even though this is a market of job seekers, preparing for an interview still means doing your homework, practicing, and knowing how to answer and ask the right questions.

“We have never had a greater imbalance between the demand for labor and the supply of available labor,” says Adam Robinson, Founder and CEO of Hireology, a platform for recruiting, hiring and managing employees. “It completely flipped the narrative. There are things candidates can do to be fully prepared and things they have more control over.

Whether you’re changing careers, returning to work, seeking a new challenge, or looking for better pay and benefits, here are the best steps you can take to prepare for and succeed in your interviews, according to hiring experts.

1. Get to know the company

The first step in any interview process is to do your research. Knowing as much as possible about how the business is run and organized will help you appear more informed. Research will also help you show your interest in that specific employer and tell you if this is the kind of place you really want to work.

“It’s important to remember that you interview them as much as they interview you,” says Stacey Perkins, career coach at Korn ferry. “He has to be the right fit on both sides.”

Applicants should spend time on the company’s website, learning about what the company considers its mission and priorities. The more these work values ​​match yours, the better.

“So much else really depends on a company’s values,” says Mark Stevens, senior director of talent acquisition at Adobe. “They guide how we treat each other, work with customers, solve problems and manage conflict.”

Ask yourself what matters to you. It could be inclusiveness, flexible hours, a remote environment, a diverse workplace, or just somewhere that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Perkins recommends setting up a networking call or two with other employees to learn more about the company and why they joined. But be sure to treat these interactions — or informational interviews, as Perkins calls them — as if they were job interviews. Every exchange counts, she says.

2. Practice makes perfect

Doing mock interviews can help you feel more confident, says Perkins. Whether you hire a professional coach or enlist the help of a friend, practice can help you feel comfortable talking about yourself. Saying your answers out loud rather than writing them down helps you build muscle memory.

But don’t write your answers verbatim or practice to the point where you seem to have repeated. Eloise Eonnet, career coach and director of MuseThe Coach Connect service of , explains: “you are much more agile and more adaptable during the interview process”. And remember: there’s nothing wrong with going off-screen.

3. Get comfortable selling yourself

Interviews are nerve-wracking, period, and selling yourself is a unique challenge. For many, whether you hate being the center of attention or don’t want to appear self-aggrandizing, talking about yourself can be uncomfortable and awkward.

Be prepared to clearly communicate the value you bring to the team, career coaches say, and use examples to make your point. In interviews, be specific. Show, don’t tell. Share stories that demonstrate your successes. And when talking about a project you’ve done, explain the impact it had. Perkins recommends the STAR method: identify the situation, the task, the action and the result.

“When you talk about the process and results of your work, that’s when I believe you and trust you, and that’s when I hire,” says Eonnet, who also oversees hiring at Muse.

And that old standby tip to be yourself? It’s true. “If I’m hiring, I don’t want to buy a front,” says career coach Wayne Pernell, who has worked in human resources for companies like Whole Foods and AAA.

Interviews can be intimidating, but don’t let your nervousness distract you from who you are. “It’s really important to find an authentic way to talk about yourself that really showcases the energy and drive you have in your work,” says Eonnet.

4. Have your resume handy

When it’s time for the interview, whether it’s over the phone, video, or in person, keep your resume handy. If you’re face-to-face, be prepared with several copies to share with the people you meet.

But resist the urge to rely on it. The interviewer has already read your resume, so don’t read it line by line. Instead, focus on bringing the content of the page to life with stories and examples. The more you practice, the easier it will become.

5. Know what questions to expect

Every interview and interviewer is different, but a few questions are almost guaranteed to be asked. The one that most often blocks candidates – and it’s also probably the first – may seem the simplest: “Tell me about yourself”. Your answer should be a little longer than an elevator pitch and go beyond what’s on your resume.

But stay on track. This is not the time to detail your career as a class secretary in high school or your trip to Europe. This question is meant to highlight your story, what motivates you, or a special achievement that you didn’t have room to include on your resume.

Questions like “why do you want to work for this company?”, meanwhile, are where your research comes in, says Eonnet. They are intended to test your knowledge of the company and to understand your motivations. point something specific you like about the employer and why they are attractive to you.

Your answer to the question “why are you the best for this job?” should showcase your skills in a specific way, says Perkins. Use the STAR method to explain your accomplishments and how they will translate to this company and position. Show what you bring to the table.

6. Use details – lots of them

Another common question asks you to share your strengths and it’s up to you to be specific in your answer. “It’s important to be clear about what you want the [interviewer] understand,” says Eonnet. “Rather than focusing on answering the questions they ask, it’s really important to make yourself an agenda like you’re going to lead a meeting for the interviewer and be very clear about the skills and competencies you bring.”

Study the job description and highlight your strengths that suit you. Tailor your response to work. For example, if it’s a project manager job, talk about your organizational chops and your ability to juggle deadlines more than your creative skills.

And when it comes to questions about weaknesses, be honest. Be sure to track how you work to improve them.

Situational questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you had a challenge and how you handled it,” aim to understand how you think and work, Perkins says. How do you handle stress? How do you manage conflicts? Your response should focus on the outcome of the situation and the impact it had on your team, business, or client. Bonus points if you include metrics.

7. Questions you should never forget to ask the interviewer

The tables always turn during an interview, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a candidate is not asking questions. The pressure can increase as the spotlight shifts, but ask the questions that really matter to you, says Eonnet.

It’s your chance to understand what the company can do for you, says Robinson. “Recruiting is a selling process,” he says. “Both sides are simultaneously trying to sell each other, while qualifying whether or not there is a fit.”

Robinson’s advice: ask questions that probe something the interviewer has already said. For example, ask the recruiter why he joined the company and why he likes it.

This question will allow the interviewer to open up more about themselves and their colleagues, as well as the culture of the employer where you might one day work.

Other questions, such as asking what success looks like in the role, or how the position affects the rest of the company, serve a dual purpose: they answer real questions you might be curious about, while sending the signal that you are successful. team spirit and team spirit. Likewise, asking how other people have fared in the same position can show that you’re focused on career progression while giving you clues as to how you might be promoted.

Asking questions about company culture can be particularly difficult because it’s a fuzzy concept even when you’re not in a job interview where everyone is trying to present themselves in their best light. One thing that can help: Ask about any initiatives or investments the company is making, such as diversity and inclusion efforts, to force the interviewer to be specific, Stevens says. Or ask them how they’ve done something in the past to help keep answers real, like the benefits they added during the pandemic to help support employees.

8. Remember to say thank you

Tracking is key, and timing is everything. Perkins recommends writing a message within 24-48 hours of the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask for an address where you can send a handwritten note.

Whether you’re emailing or posting, be sure to include at least one specific reference to the conversation you had. It shows interest and attention – and might just jog the hiring manager’s memory enough to offer you the job.