It’s hard to know exactly how you should approach applying for a job if you don’t know the company very well. This is why you should always be trying to dive a little deeper than your competition when it comes to knowing the company and how to get a job there. And while your research will help you to get your resume noticed, it’s not worth a thing if it doesn’t help you during your interview, too.
The interview process is a game changer. This is where a hiring manager gets to put a face and a personality with that anonymous piece of paper that you sent them in the form of a job application. Some people thrive in a situation like this, but most do not. To be quite honest, interviews can be nerve inducing experiences, and if you let it, this can ruin your chances of getting hired.
There are many things you can do to master the interview process, but really the easiest and most important thing you can do is to be confident. You don’t want to be cocky, or come across as arrogant, but if you are knowledgeable when it comes to your skills and what will be expected of you and you are able to convey that fact without appearing wishy-washy or second guessing of yourself, then a hiring manager will pick up on this fact and place you higher on the prospective candidates list.
Start with the company. You should have a firm understanding of what they do, and you should be confident in how you will add value to that company. If you’ve worked with similar companies in the past, what have you done that was successful? What metrics did the company use to measure your contributions, if any?
You should also be prepared to answer less than pleasant questions. Be honest, and be positive. If you’re asked why you left a past job where you were doing well, tell them the truth. If you left because you didn’t get along with management or because you felt you were being held back, present this information in a way that will not seem like a threat to the new company. Something like, “my past employer was supportive and helpful when it came to my career, but in the end I felt like I was not contributing at the level that I was capable of because of unnecessary impositions by management,” will get to the heart of that without pointing blame at another company. It basically is saying that you are your past company were both doing a great job, but it wasn’t mutually beneficial.
Your new employer isn’t going to hire you because it’s best for you. They will hire you because it’s best for them, and you will stay there because it’s best for you, too. In this light, managers do want to hire employees that will be happy at their company because it helps reduce turnover. Your interview isn’t the place to talk about what benefits they have or anything like that. Those things can be addressed after there’s a job offer, but before you accept it. However, you should be able to portray to a hiring manager that yes, this is what you want to do, and this is where you want to do it. Your attitude should be positive, you should be receptive to what they have to say about your duties, and you should do enough research to show them that this sincerely interests you. If you can do these things, plus have the right background and expertise for the position, you will be a much more valuable candidate and be that much more likely to get hired.