Every interview is different. Some are nerve-wrecking, interrogative, others unnecessarily friendly.
But that doesn't mean you can't prepare for a successful interview. Use these interview tips to strategize your self-presentation and find the best fit between the position and your career goals.
1. Research interviewer
Anything-from an interviewer's LinkedIn profile picture to job title-is a fair game and could give you an advantageous edge.
Instead of reading those -- boring -- mission statements on the company's website before an upcoming interview, I suggest to switch up the gears and research the interviewer. If you don't know the person, politely ask the HR person whom you communicated about setting up the interview.
Look up their LinkedIn profile and any personal websites. Get a feel for what their career goal at the target company is and where their career seems to be headed.
2. Sell yourself (Write and memorize a personal statement if have to)
So many interviews commence with the well-too-familiar line of, "Tell me about yourself."
This is not your chance to ramble on. What we don't want here is becoming Stuttering John too nervous to sell yourself.
If you know you're the type that gets nervous, or it will be a relatively intimidating interview (i.e., two interviewers in the room), practice a 1-2 minute "narrative resume." Write and memorize a personal statement if you have to. When I am asked this question, I give them my narrative resume with my current title, organization, and 1-2 achievements.
It is a good idea to ask interviewer, "What area of my background do you find the most relevant to the position?" and focus on elaborating specific work experiences.
A narrative resume will not only ease off the nervous energy you might have, but also come in handy when interviewers ask task-specific questions, such as, "Tell me about your time working as an intern for Pfizer."
3. Don't try to give the perfect answer
There is no best answer for interview questions. Keep in mind that they want to get to know you in addition to assessing your qualifications, and answer in a way that shows your personality.
This interview tip holds true especially for "personal" questions such as your organization skills, work habits, and how you handled a difficult situation.
4. Ask questions (make it a conversation, not a speech)
Asking questions about the interviewer or the company shows your enthusiasm and dexterity. We don't want the interview to be a boring, suffocating Q&A session, or a speech presumptuously boasting our own achievements.
This interview tip goes in hand with the first one. Ask the interviewer questions such as, "What do you like most about working here?" (Read more.) Show them you're genuinely interested in working for their company.
5. Ask yourself: Is this the best fit for my career?
We are often preoccupied to make a good impression on the interviewer that we often we forget to ask ourselves,
"Did they make a good impression on me?"
Interviews are not exams. A candidate is not evaluated by how well they perform, but by how good of a fit they are to the organization. Interviewers want to know whether the candidate is the best fit. You, the candidate, want to know whether the position is the best fit for your career path.
Salary is important, but the position's long-term benefit to your career growth is more important. Find out the fit between your needs and theirs, and you'll be ready to impress any employer in no time.