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5 Things to Do Before an Interview | Careers in Utilities

5 Things to Do Before an Interview  | Careers in Utilities

There is a plethora of information regarding what an interviewer should do during an interview. However, less is written about what an interviewer should do before they even enter the room, or log onto the video interviewing platform.  Here are 5 quick tips to help you understand the items you need to do before you go in for your interview. 

1. Research the company

Before you interview, learn as much about the interviewers and their company as possible. People research companies to prepare for an interview; take that a step further by learning about the people themselves. Look at their LinkedIn profiles, Google them (try searching phrases like “reputation of [company name]”), and see what comes up under “News” or “Publications” on Google News. You can even use online searchable databases such as Jigsaw to find out more about them - for example, if your interviewers list engineering degrees from MIT, you could look up classmates and colleagues to see if they were classmates with anyone else you know and might be able to provide a recommendation letter. You could also interview them by preparing to ask certain interview questions, such as “How did you get into this industry?” or “What is your favorite part about working for this company?” Once you feel that you know the interviewers well enough, it isn’t a bad idea to prepare an icebreaker question in case there is awkward silence before the interview starts.

2 . Prepare Answers

Prepare for some common interview scenarios that might come up and practice answering them out loud several times so that your explanation flows smoothly. For example, if they want to know why you decided to pursue a career in [X], try giving an answer like:

I have found my passion in [X] because...

I am most motivated by...

My goals are to...

3. Re-read the Job Description

Recruiters know interviewees spend time practicing interview answers, so interviewers typically aren't surprised or impressed by interviewee responses. Instead, interviewers are looking for how well the interviewee has researched the company and role they are interviewing for. If an interviewer asks about a skill listed in your resume, you should say “Yes” if you have that skill, but also mention how it is applicable to this job. For example if asked “Can you use Photoshop?”, mention that Photoshop is used frequently in digital design positions like this one. This shows that not only do you have the skills, but that you are using them for something purposeful.

4. Understand and practice the STAR method to answering interview questions

When interviewers ask interviewees about their work experience, interviewees should always respond with a S ituation, T ask, A ction taken or R esult. The situation is what happened (you were asked to do X), the task is what needed to be done (to do X), then action taken (you A) and result or impact of that task (Y). For example:

Question: "Describe your job."

Situation - I was hired as an Account Executive at [company name]

Task - My responsibility was to develop our social media marketing

Action taken - I created a strategy that used Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to attract new customers

Result/Impact of my work - As a result, the number of followers on each platform doubled.

This interview response not only highlights skills needed for this role but also how it is relevant to the interviewers' company. Another example interview question might be "What is your biggest accomplishment?" A good interviewee response would include: Question: What is your biggest accomplishment?

Situation- About two years ago when I worked in [X], my manager asked me to create an event website for our upcoming conference.

Task- My manager gave me all of the information about the conference, so I had to plan the conference, find speakers and vendors, create a website, etc.

Action taken- I created a website where all of our speakers could upload their presentations and we were able to interview potential vendors.

Impact/Result- We ended up getting twice as many attendees as in previous years due to social media promotion from the conference's website. Actions speak louder than words, so interviewers take what you say with a grain of salt - especially if they can't verify whether or not it is true! In this situation, interviewers typically want examples that show how interviewees work independently and make good decisions without being told exactly what to do. If interviewees practice telling their story in the STAR format, interviewers will be able to trust interviewee statements because interviewees are demonstrating how they work, solve problems, and create results.

5. Be prepared with examples of your work

During the interview, you will likely be asked about specific work you’ve completed in relation to the position. After reviewing the job description, think of work you’ve done in past jobs, clubs, or volunteer positions that show you have experience and success doing the work they require.