How to Prepare for an Interview

Interviewing can be anxiety inducing. Making sure you’ve prepared yourself thoroughly can help though. Here’s some tips on how to get prepared for an interview to help set yourself up to show your best face.

Research the company offering the interview

This is extremely important. Here’s your chance to get ahead of the game and get familiarized with the specifics of the company in question: Their products, the services they offer, what makes them unique compared to other companies. This will allow you to be better prepared to show how your experience relates to the role, and develop your own questions to ask the employer.

Additionally, this is an opportunity to get a peek into the company’s culture to determine if this role is a fit for you.

Be prepared with relevant specifics

Make sure you review the job description thoroughly, and understand what purpose the role fulfills. Try to make sure you have some answers developed for questions that ask you to explain how you handled difficult situations, as some interviews will ask behavioral questions.

Additionally, make sure you have some accomplishments prepared. Whether this is your successful sales numbers, or how you improved the efficiency of company processes, make sure to be able to brag about yourself.

Be conscious of body language and proper attire

Yes, your body talks. You want to make sure that it’s talking about your professionalism and confidence. This means being attentive, making eye contact, having proper posture, and doing your best to speak clearly and with confidence.

Have an understanding of what is the appropriate attire for an interview with this company. Sometimes what is normal for one company or industry can leave you over/underdressed for another. See if there are staff photos on their website, or ask your recruiter or whoever contacted you for the interview what to expect.

And don’t forget about hygiene! Make sure you’re clean; fingernails, hair, etcetera. Try not to overdo it on the perfume/cologne, you may end up overwhelming your interviewer.

BE ON TIME (or if you can’t, make sure you reach out)

This is so incredibly important. Set yourself up ahead of time to make sure you have everything prepared that you will need for your interview so you aren’t left scrambling when the time comes.

If you have an in-office interview, make sure you have enough gas, have determined how long it will take you to get there (and which route you’ll take), and get there with time to spare.

If your interview is set to be conducted over video call, make sure that your computer, camera, and microphone are working properly, and that the space that you will be in will be free of distractions and clean.

And if something has come up and you aren’t able to make the interview, reach out to the company or your recruiter to let them know.

Things happen. They may be willing to reschedule the interview. But be sure to communicate, or you may lose your opportunity with the company for good.

Practice to cement your confidence and see what needs more attention

If you’re having trouble being confident in your speech, try practicing with a friend. Have them ask you questions that may come up in the interview. This will allow you to get comfortable with how you will answer, and identify any potential gaps or weaknesses to your answers.

Additionally, if you’re able to practice with someone who has experience in the industry you’re interviewing for, they may be able to offer you valuable feedback and insights that can help you.

Now that you’ve prepared yourself, go forth and conquer your interview with confidence.

Don’t forget to thank your interviewer for taking the time to speak with you!

How to answer what is your greatest weakness?

When an interviewer asks “What is your greatest weakness”, they want to find out:

  • Whether you have a healthy level of self-awareness
  • Whether you can be open and honest, particularly about shortcomings
  • Whether you pursue self-improvement and growth opportunities to combat these issues, as opposed to letting these weaknesses hold you back

Ultimately, you’ll want to use this question to demonstrate how you’ve used a weakness as motivation to learn a new skill or grow professionally. Everyone has weaknesses — your interviewer doesn’t expect you to be perfect.

However, it’s critical you avoid mentioning weaknesses that will prevent you from performing well in the role. For instance, if you’re applying for a accountant role, you don’t want to say, “I’m not very good at math and struggle with numbers.”

Alternatively, if you’re applying for a web content writer position with little necessity for math skills, you might admit, “I struggle with numbers. While math is not directly tied to my role as a writer, I believe it’s important I have a rudimentary understanding of Google Analytics, to ensure my work is performing well. To tackle this weakness, I’ve been taking online courses in data analytics.”

At all times express confidence in both your strengths as well as your ability to overcome your weaknesses.

Job Interview Tips

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?

To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.

Read More on Forbes

Wrong Answers to “Why Do You Want This Job?”

1. A flippant or meaningless answer.

“Because I really need money” [wink wink].

“Because, um, yeah, this seems like a great place to work.”

Not the response of a competent, committed candidate, right? A better answer would be to explain how the position will fit your skills and allow you to advance your career — a win-win for you and the employer.

2. A generic answer.

It’s not a good idea to memorize one answer and use it every place you apply. The hiring professional will recognize that it’s just pre-programmed interview-speak, and will have learned nothing about your suitability for the job. Since you are researching the company beforehand anyway (we certainly hope), take a couple of minutes to figure out why this specific position and/or employer is perfect for you.

3. A 10-minute dissertation.

OK, maybe not really 10 minutes, but do resist the tendency to babble on that happens to many of us when we’re nervous. Don’t list every little reason you’d like to work there, just the most important one or two. You especially don’t need to mention factors that only benefit you, not the company, such as its location close to your home.

As with any other interview question, the secret to a successful answer is to be prepared, and even more importantly, be yourself. That way, both you and the interviewer will know when you have truly found the right job.

Bellevue Recruiter tells you how to answer a few tricky questions

What is your greatest accomplishment?”

Although the interviewer is asking you about your greatest accomplishment, you still have to choose one that is more professionally relevant. This is a good time to illustrate how you can contribute to the company if you are successfully recruited, so it will be to your advantage if you mention an achievement that applies to the position.

Let’s say you are applying for a position that requires a significant amount of problem solving and troubleshooting. You might want to talk about a time when you resolved a persistent problem that had plagued your company for years. You can explain how you initiated some research and made a useful suggestion that was eventually implemented to all departments. If possible, quantify your results in terms of savings made and increased productivity for instance.

Why did you apply for this position?”

Even if it’s true to a large extent, don’t give them the vibe that you applied for this job because you were retrenched from your previous company. Or for that matter, don’t give the impression that you are here because you need to make a living. Any company wants someone who is committed to the organization and eventually developed a sense of belonging with it. It doesn’t help claiming that you’re here for the monthly paycheck.

In fact, the best way to answer this question is to spend some time examining what you like or would like about your work and the company. It is likely you will find something, such as the culture, work environment, meaning of your work, etc. If you didn’t find anything, then you should seriously consider if this is the right job for you.

Once you know why you want this job, you can then answer them in a manner that’ll relate how well you fit with the position. For example, if you like the customer service work involved because you enjoy communicating with people, bring up that sociable personality of yours. Convince them that you’ll fit in very well here, and you’ll in turn convince the interviewer that you’ll be an asset to the company.

Why should I hire you?”

This is the part where you link your skills, experience, education and your personality to the job itself. This is why you need to be utterly familiar with the job description as well as the company culture. Remember though, it’s best to back them up with actual examples of say, how you are a good team player.

It is possible that you may not have as much skills, experience or qualifications as the other candidates. What then, will set you apart from the rest? Energy and passion might. People are attracted to someone who is charismatic, who show immense amount of energy when they talk, and who love what it is that they do. As you explain your compatibility with the job and company, be sure to portray yourself as that motivated, confident and energetic person, ever-ready to commit to the cause of the company.

Tough Sales Job Interview Questions Asked in Redmond

“Why do you want to work in sales?”

The biggest mistake you can make when answering this question is to simply say, “Because I like it,” or worse, “Because the money is good.” This doesn’t really tell the interviewer anything they couldn’t have obviously guessed—and it certainly doesn’t help to set you apart from other candidates.

Successfully answer this tough question by focusing on your sales history. Think back to when your passion first began. Was it because of a summer job? Or maybe it started as early as childhood. Briefly illustrate this passion with real-life examples and include a success story, if possible. Then tie it in to why you still want to work in sales. Employers will take note of this longstanding drive and remember your answer because of your personal story.

Best last question to ask in an Interview when looking for jobs in Redmond

We’ve all been there: It’s the end of the interview, and after nearly an hour of pouring your heart (and work experience) out to a potential employer, the hiring manager asks if you have any last questions before wrapping up.

It’s meant to be a formality, of course—a way to end the conversation without kicking you out right then and there. But it’s also an opportunity, intentional or not, to make one final impression and give your interviewer something to remember you by.

This final remark is actually a moment to “add value to the conversation” before you both head your separate ways. It’s especially noteworthy when you do manage to pull that off, since so many other candidates, having already asked many questions throughout the session, mindlessly shrug off this little last thing at the end.

But if you play your cards right, he says, it can turn a completely lost cause into a foot in the door.

“Actually yeah, I was wondering what your best moment so far at [Company Name] was?”

This simple ask, cleverly masked as innocent curiosity, can give you many important insights—on your interviewer’s values, the company, and how well you might fit in with a position there. Think about it: There’s no higher note to end on than with your interviewer’s fondest memory of the company, a feeling that can now be subconsciously associated with your prospects as a future employee.

And aside from being an emotional plus for you, it’ll also give you an idea of what your future co-workers might value, and the kind of culture that company cultivates for its team members. If your interviewer struggles to come up with a meaningful memory, that’s a helpful red flag for you to keep in mind if you end up with an offer.

So, the next time you’re hard-pressed for something to say in those awkward few moments before the door closes with you on the other side, give this question a shot. Odds are, it can only help.

Preparation is everything when it comes to giving job interviews in Lynnwood

Job Interview Preparation

After you’ve started your research, compile two or three intelligent, well-thought out questions to ask your interviewer when she says: “So, do you have any questions?” Don’t use this opportunity to immediately propose questions about the position’s salary, vacation time, and retirement options. Unless those issues are brought up, cool your jets with these questions until you’re through with the first round. Instead, write down two or three thoughtful questions that you may have, either about the interview process itself or the company’s background.

Prepare and practice answers to common interview questions such as why you left your last job, or “Tell me something about yourself.” Omit negative responses or long stories about your evil former boss or coworkers. Never discuss controversial views or politics. Keep things in a positive light and focus on elements in your background that directly relate to the position at hand. Tossing in fun information about your appropriate hobbies will also help the hiring manager or human resources executive remember you after you’re on the train back home.

Also, use an online mapping tool to plan your route so you know exactly where you’re going ahead of time. A sure way to bomb an interview is to be late. Bring your contact’s name and phone number along with the exact address of where you’re going. You may have been in “the area” years ago to visit a long lost friend but the landscape has changed: highways have been constructed and new roads paved, so use observant caution and online mapping tools to help you find your way.

On the day of the interview, time yourself so you get there about five to ten minutes ahead of time for your interview. Any earlier than that is inconvenient to your interviewer. The person you’re there to meet has set aside a predetermined block of time to meet you. Arriving 20 or more minutes early puts both of you in an awkward position.

If you’re out in your car waiting for 30 minutes you may encounter scrutiny. Find a spot where you can sit and “hide out” in case you arrive way too early. Keep in mind that your interview actually begins the moment you exit the elevator: all eyes are on you. If you’re adjusting your clothes when you exit the elevator you might catch your interviewer on his or her way into the office–first impressions count.

First and foremost, be polite to the receptionist. The receptionist isn’t just a receptionist but actually is a First Impression Specialist. How you treat this person is part of your overall assessment and will be reported back to the assessment team.

Insurance Sales Top Interview Questions

Background, Strengths, and Experience

Your prospective employer will want to know a lot about your background and experience. Given this, the interviewer may even ask if you’ve ever been fired. Be honest, especially if it was in the recent past, and they’ll likely find out.

Be prepared to share your side of the story without dwelling on the past. Disclose how you’ve learned from the experience and grown into a better employee.

The interviewer will want to know what to expect out of you as a worker by hearing what you’ve done in the past. For example, how would you meet your quotas or bring in sales? Also, how long would you expect to stay in sales if hired, and how do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work as a salesman?

They’ll probably want to know why you personally are suited for a sales environment and how much time you would ideally spend in an office. You may also be asked to rate how trainable you are and what you think you’re worth. Be prepared to discuss the contributions to profits that you’ve made to justify your salary request.

Industry Knowledge

Knowing your industry will make you a much better salesperson than if you’re clueless about the insurance field.

With this in mind, expect your interviewer to ask you questions such as which drivers will influence the market in the next 18 months?

The interviewer might also expect you to know information specifically about the company in question. For example, what do you think is a typical day in the life of an insurance salesman at the company.

Be sure to study up on the company and say why you want to work there. You might also be asked to critique the company. But don’t go overboard here. You want your criticism to be as constructive as possible. Maybe mention some areas in which the company could improve and how you’re the right person to do so.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Working in insurance sales means that you have to be an effective communicator. That means interviewers will want to know if you can distinguish communication skills from listening skills. They’ll also be likely to ask how you build relationships with clients and handle rejection. Be ready to share an experience you had dealing with a difficult customer and how you handled the situation.

And if you’re a good communicator, you’re likely to enjoy cold calling, so be prepared to discuss that. Your prospective employer might also want you to share an effective method you have used to sell insurance.

Lastly, don’t be startled if your interviewer asks you to sell him something in 60 seconds or less.

Etiquette Tips for insurance job seekers in Lynnwood

Be courteous to everyone, everywhere all the time. Of course it should go without saying that you need to be polite to everyone when you are being interviewed. But you never know what cameras record in the reception area, or if your muttering in the restroom is unknowingly addressed to the hiring manager you are about to formally meet for the first time.

Hiring managers, human resources professionals and recruiters are all busy. Don’t be the person who keeps applying to the same job multiple times in the same week in order to keep popping up on the radar. When you are in an interview, keep your answers short, focused and to the point. Sometimes searches take longer than anyone anticipated. You can be sure that if you are the No. 1 candidate, you’ll be getting called along the way. Don’t allow yourself to be seen as a pest by overly frequent or demanding communications. Recognize that sometimes no news is simply that: no news.

Listen carefully to what people say. For example, it is typical for a hiring manager to describe the job or how the company goes about things at the beginning of an interview. It is the kiss of death when, later in the same conversation, you ask for information  you’ve already been given. Of course, you can ask for a clarification or an expansion of an earlier subject, but don’t do so in a way that suggests you never even heard the information that a person has just conveyed to you!

Turn off your phone. When you are in a business meeting, nothing conveys a sense of “you’re not worth paying attention to” or “you aren’t my highest priority at this moment” than fidgeting with or answering your cell phone. Make a point of leaving your phone home, in the car or at least entirely turned off. Your interviewer deserves and expects your undivided attention.

Extend your appreciation, and promptly follow up all interviews. A thank you note is expected generally by email the same day as the interview, and certainly not longer than the next day. If you promise other information, such as references for samples of your work product, be prompt in supplying them. It is simply rude not to follow up and recognize the courtesies that have been extended to you.