In Ch. 1: What is an Interview? we discussed the basics of interviewing and covered what you need to know before getting your first interview. This chapter will help break down what you need to do to adequately prepare yourself after you’ve made it past the first hiring round which contains the application and initial phone call.
The next round in the candidate selection process you need to get comfortable for is the interview.
So, you landed an interview. Great job! Now what? Don’t celebrate until you have the job offer. First, you need to learn how to prepare for an interview.
Before you go in for the interview, you need to do some homework. Make a pre-interview checklist of what you need to accomplish before the big day.
That list should include: research the prospective company; find information on the person who will be interviewing you; hold a mock interview; figure out what you are going to wear, and acquire all the right materials to take into the meeting.
So, you landed an interview. Great job! Now what? Don’t celebrate until you have the job offer. First, you need to learn how to prepare for an interview.
One of the most important steps before an interview is to research your prospective employer. You can learn their principles, goals, and mission to leverage and better adapt your plan of attack.
When you research your employer, you can separate yourself from other candidates by showcasing that you are more prepared than other candidates who don’t know much about the company itself.
Healthcare recruiters, employers, and hiring managers want to hire individuals who want to work for the respective company, and showcasing that you know a lot about the company itself will help highlight your desire to work for that company.
In addition, you can better prepare yourself for some of the curveballs that will eventually come your way throughout the interview.
Instead of getting tripped up along the way, you’ll be ready to answer questions with confidence, and stand out amongst those hesitant candidates.
A little bit of research goes a long way.
The company’s website is a great indicator on how the company wants to be seen.
They've put time and money into the site to highlight everything they want the public to see, and this will be where you see them in their best light, getting a feel for their mission and what they stand for.
The first thing you should do is to find any official news or documentation recently released by the company. This might include press releases, a company news section, or a company blog section.
Look for press releases and any company news on their site; seeing what they’ve been up to.
When you know what the company has recently been up to, you can mention how you are attuned to some of the company’s goals, missions, and how you can help with some of their current milestones.
In addition, when you review some of the company news or press releases, you can gauge how healthy the company is overall.
This will help prepare you for the interview by letting you know what might be expected of you in your new role, or whether or not they will have a job for you in a few month’s time if the company were to go bankrupt or some other extenuating circumstance.
Researching recent news about the company can help you during the interviewing process.
When you know a little bit more about the company you can craft some dialogue around their passions - and showcase how they align with your goals for your career.
Having a good dialogue about the company will show the employer that you’re a candidate that knows and likes the company enough to learn about them.
Consider how the job you’re vying for fits into their company mission, and how it plays into the overall picture of their goals. What skills do you possess that can benefit them and help move them closer to the big picture?
A good way of figuring out how the company fits with your goal picture is to take notes and compare and contrast.
In this way, you will be able to recall some of the goals when you are practicing your mock interview later on, and will be able to then recall them when you actually conduct the interview.
The company website is also a great tool for researching the employees that you will be in contact with - for example, the hiring manager.
Search their faculty database and find information on every relevant person.
Study each person and find out where they went to school, their likes, dislikes, job history, accomplishments—whatever will give you discussion topics and ice breakers.
One great way of bringing up an icebreaker is to mention how you have a passion for something, and then see if they hone in on it. You don’t want to make it come off as if you stalked them to find out as much information as you can.
If you come off as somebody who did a little too much research, you can quickly lose consideration for the job.
In essence, you want to establish a connection with both the company, and the person who is interviewing you.
When you establish a connection with the person/company, you can really help your personality shine through.
When your personality shines through, employers and hiring managers can truly connect with you and see that you’re more than just a robot answering questions hoping to provide the correct answers.
You can improve your chances of advancing past the interview stage by ensuring that you come off as authentic, and not robotic.
Another useful thing to do to prepare for an interview is to use online databases to find unbiased reports on your prospective employer.
Hoover’s database keeps information and research on thousands of corporations. You can find statistics, financial records, and all the competitors for your corporation.
Other databases you can utilize in your research include:
Databases are invaluable when comparing companies, and especially useful if you've got multiple job offers on the table.
If you want to check what other employees are saying, there are also plenty of useful resources for you to use. One fantastic resource is Glassdoor.
Glassdoor is a platform where individuals can post interview questions they were asked during their own interview, post reviews on their employer, or highlight some of the benefits that are offered.
When you use Glassdoor, you can look up the individual hospital, or healthcare facility that you are interviewing for.
From there, you can see how others rate that individual employer and access critical tools that will help you when preparing for an interview.
For instance, you can look up what others said about various interviews they took for those companies.
When you do that, you can see some of the specific interview questions everyone was asked, the answers they provided, and how difficult they felt the entire interview process was.
This will help you to ensure that you are ready for the interview, and also gives you a step up on the competition who doesn’t use valuable resources to gain insight into the interview process for the specific employer.
In addition, you can see what kinda compensation or benefits are available for the position you are applying for - based on what others responded with for that particular position.
A little bit of research on Glassdoor will help save you some time and give you some outside opinions on the position or company.
This can be useful useful for ensuring that you make an educated decision on whether or not to accept the position down the road if you’re offered.
When you review the compensation and benefits that the company provides, then you can ensure that the position compensation is in the range that you are looking for, and they provide the benefits you hope to secure.
Remember, the labor market is a tricky thing. Your labor is a commodity, just like gold or wheat, and it’s valuable. Don't be undersold!
Trade Journals are a good resource for information on business and industry trends. You can use them to find out about professionals in the industry, industry trends, service reviews, and news related to the business.
When you review individual trade journals, you can also gain some perspective on how the industry or company is performing specifically.
This way, you can help determine whether or not there might be specific questions related to the industry that might come up when you are preparing for an interview.
It’s almost a guarantee that industry specific questions will arise throughout the course of the interview, so it is best to prepare for those types of questions and ensure that you stand out from those candidates who are not aware of some of the industry standards or trends.
You’ll want to appear as if you can seemingly fit in to the existing dynamics of the organization, instead of appearing as if you will require some additional education expenses or time to catch up on the industry.
Google is an incredibly powerful tool. You can find anything you need to know just by typing in relevant keywords, and it’s also a great way for you to research the company when you want to prepare for an interview.
Search your employer, news, stats — basically anything that will provide relevant information about the company.
If you couldn’t find anything that was free for finding trade information or industry information for the company, then you can use a google search to figure out some info on free platforms.
This is a great way for you to discover what others are saying about the company as well, such as competing organizations, news organizations, or public discussion forums.
Google will give you the most relevant databases and news on your employer, depending on what you ask, or how you structure the search query in google.
More than likely it will pull up the resources listed above — if you Google info about your company and ask for any stats.
Don’t underestimate what you can find on Google. Just be specific, and know what you want to find.
Tip: Use quotations to search for exact match keywords, like "who started google," or any other keyword relating to the company or person you're interviewing with.
In addition, one other method you can use is to use quotations or plus (+) signs in between each search query to narrow down what you’re looking for by combining the two queries:
Ex: "company name" + "quarterly earnings press release"
Ex: company name + quarterly earnings press release
This helps you to figure out or find the relevant information you are looking for, and narrow down some of the search results so you don’t have to manually try and make connections where none exist.
An overlooked technique, that is a very important element in how to prepare for an interview, is holding a mock interview to help prepare you for the real thing.
Many people feel confident about their interviewing skills, but when it comes to the interview itself — they trip over themselves on accident.
Everyone can use a refresher course or a little bit more practice, and all it takes is a simple request for a friend or family member.
If you take the time to answer some hard questions, you’ll be much more comfortable when you answer them in the real deal.
When you’re nervous in the interview, you’ll find that you talk quickly and rush through your thoughts. You’ll find that with a little bit of practice you’ll be more calm, and you talk slower during the interview.
Have a friend drill you on potential questions and critique your non-verbal communication.
Tell your fake interviewer to be strict, and as the interview, act as professional as you possibly can.
Get them to ask hard questions and have solid answers prepared for every topic. Remember to demonstrate your skills in your interview; if you say you have great communication skills, you better be able to show it in an interview.
In the real interview, if you start to get nervous, think back to your mock interview, and try to recreate how you felt then.
You’ll be grateful that you spent the extra time in your mock interview setting, as you’ll be able to recall moments that helped calm you down and go through your interview a little bit easier.
Imagine your interviewer as your friend and relax.
A little practice beforehand, and you will do great.
The next step you need to take when you are getting ready and preparing for your interview is to figure out what you’re going to wear to the interview.
In a lot of cases, the interviewer will request that you dress a certain way, or provide information that helps guide you on what you should wear. Sometimes these guidelines can be employee dress code or code of conduct documentation.
If the employer provided those guidelines, then you know how you should dress and your job is a little easier.
If you don’t know how you should dress, then the last thing you want to do is wait to the last minute.
Take the time to plan out your outfit the day before, so that you have one less thing to worry about on the day of the interview.
Regardless of what you think the dress code might be for the business, you want to impress the interviewer in all aspects - including how you present yourself in the interview.
In a hospital job or healthcare job setting, you want to dress business professional. You should take the time to ensure that you’re well-groomed, clothes are well-pressed and tidy.
In addition, it’s important to think about your makeup or accessories, as you don’t want to distract the interviewer by doing too much.
Don’t weigh yourself down with junk you don’t need for your interview, make sure you are neat and orderly — don’t walk in with a stack of crumpled papers and ask for a pen.
You should only have about four things with you: your cover letter, a resume, paper and pen, and a reference list/letters of recommendation.
1. Copy of your Cover Letter — This is to remind people why you are so passionate for the position, and detail a little bit more about your qualifications and experience for the position.
2. Make sure to bring a copy of your resume — This is mainly so you can follow along and/or give it to them if they have misplaced yours (and that does happen).
3. Paper and Pen — If you need to take notes or think of relevant questions during the interview, a paper in pen will come in handy. Also, it will make you look prepared and send a signal that you care about the position.
4. Reference List or Letters of Recommendation — Bring a list of references incase they ask for any, or you can email it to them. This will show you actually have people on your side that will vouch for you. Don’t give it to them unless they ask.
Letters of Recommendation are useful if they praise your work ethic, or if they prove that you’ve done the job well in the past. Use at your discretion.
Often times it’s a requirement during the application process to list a set of references who will vouch for your work ethic and experience, and healthcare recruiters and hiring managers do not want to go through pages of content to find those references.
Having the letters or references with you to present to them if they ask is incredibly useful.
The next thing you need to do when preparing for your interview is to figure out where you need to go by mapping your route.
The last thing you want to do is be late for an important interview, and figuring out where you are going to go and mapping out your route is critical to ensuring that you arrive early or on time.
It’s important to be punctual, and when you showcase that you want to be there by arriving early — you’ll stand out amongst other candidates who arrived on time or were late.
If you really want to prepare, take the time to actually drive the route to the interview, so you can see if there are any construction hazards you need to be aware of, what traffic conditions are like, and get a good estimate as to how long the commute will take.
Do the research, compile a list of talking points, look your best, and bring the right materials, and your interview should go fine.
Remember to destress before your interview and clear your mind to calm your nerves. Stay calm and do your best; that's all you can do and you’ll do just fine.