End pre-interview jitters by learning how to effectively prepare for an interview. Chattanooga’s top Human Resources (HR) professionals, from Kenco to Ruby Falls, shared their pre-interview best practices to help you land that dream job!
Meet our HR experts:
- Katie Belcher, Director of Human Resources, Chattanooga Housing Authority
- Rosonia Burton, CAP, Human Resources Coordinator, Parkridge Health System
- Heather Fallecker, HR Advisor, Tennessee Valley Authority
- Fletcher French, HR Recruiter at YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga
- Angel Geoghagan, Human Resources and Professional Standards Manager, Hamilton Country 9-1-1 Emergency Communications District
- Tonya Lewis, Director of Human Resources, Taimen Transport, LLC
- Carlin McRae, Director of Operations, Ruby Falls
- Melissa Moore, Human Resources Manager, Card-Monroe Corp.
- Lauren Shuler, Sr. Talent Acquisition Consultant, Unum
- Kevin Thompson, HR Manager, Miller Industries
- Karis Tucker, HR Manager, Kenco
Implement these 12 tips and impress your interviewer with how prepared you are. Good luck!
Complete Applications Thoroughly
Filling out multiple applications can be time-consuming. Still, be sure to complete each application thoroughly. Remember that no application is complete without an up-to-date resume and letter of interest.
“A complete application, along with a resume and cover letter, lets your typical HR manager learn about you before you walk in the door. An incomplete application tells me the candidate is not seriously interested in the position,” says Geoghagan.
Research, Research, Research
Eight out of 11 experts listed researching the company as one of their top interview readiness tips. Our experts suggest researching companies through their website, social media accounts and latest annual report.
“Write down facts on the company’s website you think are impressive or unique. Facts can include statistical data, awards earned or industry rank. Reference the facts in the interview,” says Thompson.
Important aspects of the company to learn also include the corporate mission statement and company values. Ask questions in your research such as, what is the company’s product? Who is the target customer? And, how does the company make money?
“I always ask candidates what they know about the company and what questions they have. If they cannot respond, that shows me a lack of preparedness,” says Moore.
Tucker at Kenco encourages interviewees to read an organization’s reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and Google. Also, don’t forget to search LinkedIn for possible connections within the company.
List Your Negotiables and Non-Negotiables
While landing an interview is exciting, it’s important to remember that not all job offers are a match. Creating a list of negotiables and non-negotiables ahead of time makes it easier to list your needs and wants clearly during the interview.
“Make a list of negotiables and non-negotiables about the employer and job. Be sure that each item gets covered in the interview. After the interview, the list will help you decide if you are still interested in the position or if you were just caught up in the excitement of landing an interview,” says Lewis.
Study the Job Description
Be sure to read the job description several times and prepare to discuss job-related concepts with the interviewer.
“Candidates who can discuss job-related concepts with the interviewers come across as prepared, interested and driven to succeed. Knowledge of the position shows employers that the interviewer has more interest in the job than simply getting a paycheck,” says Geoghagan.
Think Through Your Accomplishments
Prepare a few anecdotes that prove personal success and are aligned with the responsibilities listed in the job description. For example, if the job description calls for presenting to groups of executives, prepare to talk about times you have made presentations and the impact your presentations made.
Fallecker recommends highlighting your accomplishments by using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. Describe the situation, the task received, the action taken and the positive result.
Use your resume as a study guide to brainstorm what accomplishments you would like to highlight during the interview.
Practice a Mock Interview
Practicing an interview ahead of time with friends, family or trusted colleagues can be beneficial.
“Participate in a mock interview with a leader that you trust. Make sure to rehearse your answers and ask for feedback on both your responses and body language,” says Fallecker.
As your comfort level grows, your confidence grows as well!
Think About Questions to Ask
Our experts advise candidates to think of three to five quality questions for the interviewer. Belcher warns that ending an interview without asking questions may leave a negative impression.
Be prepared to ask questions such as, What qualities do your most successful employees have? What is your management style? And, what are the job expectations in the first three months, six months and first year?
“Ask the interviewer questions to make sure the company and position fit your career goals,” says McRae.
Complete a “Tech Check”
Give online interviews as much preparation as in-person interviews. Pay attention to your background and what the interviewer sees on camera. Chose a place with adequate lighting, ensure that your space is tidy, and remember that interviewers like to see candidates face-to-face.
“If your interview is going to be virtual, plan to check your technology beforehand. Make sure that your computer or device has a working camera, microphone and stable internet connection,” says McRae.
Dress to Impress
Want to make the best first impression possible? Take time to carefully select what to wear for the interview. If possible, select your outfit days before in case you need to buy new attire.
“Show the interviewer you understand professionalism by making sure you have dressed appropriately, your clothing fits correctly and your outfit aligns with your career goals. When setting up your interview, it’s okay to ask if there is a preferred dress code,” says McRae.
Calm those pre-interview jitters by getting your body moving. A simple exercise can make all the difference when meeting with potential employers.
“Interviewing can be stressful. I recommend that candidates be active a few hours before their interview through activities such as walking, running, cycling or yoga. You will be able to work out pre-interview nerves and can mentally prepare for the interview,” says French.
Build Confidence with Morning Mirror Trick
Take some time before your interview to build self-confidence with positive affirmations.
“On the morning of your interview, place yourself in front of a mirror,” says Fallecker. “Talk through an explanation of why you are a great fit for the position. Remember to smile!”
Every organization appreciates a punctual candidate. If you are unsure of the interview location, familiarize yourself with directions by driving to the company once or twice before the interview. On the day of the interview, avoid feeling rushed by checking for traffic delays prior to leaving your house.
“Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Let the appropriate person know who you are and why you are there. They can notify the person conducting the interview of your arrival,” says Thompson.
Marah Whitaker serves as the marketing assistant for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Center for Professional Education (UTC CPE). The center manages all of UTC’s non-credit certifications, credentialing and workforce training. Custom corporate training, professional development courses and medical career academies are all offered through the center. CPE believes in offering excellent lifelong learning programs to meet the diverse educational needs of those they serve.