You’ve got a meeting about a prospective new job on the horizon, and even though you’ve been prepping for it, you can’t help but wonder if you’re really ready for that job interview.
We spoke to a few hiring veterans from top digital media companies, and compiled a final checklist, to help you gauge whether you’re good to go.
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Have you done your research?
The first thing you need to do to prep for your upcoming interview is research. The second thing is research. And the third thing is, yes, more research.
Knowing the company inside and out shows the hiring manager you’re actually invested in this opportunity, and having this information can help you develop questions to ask the interviewer.
Jodie Cook, managing director of JC Social Media Limited, a UK–based social agency, recommends reading the company’s last 10 blog posts, looking over their About Us page and checking out their client list and case studies.
And if you’re interviewing at an agency, be ready to talk recent awards, client wins and any industry news that might be affecting the company. Cook also says it’s important to know which clients of theirs you’d like to work with if you got hired.
Did you research the people you’re interviewing with?
Oh, yes, there’s even more research: Before your interview, ask the hiring manager who you will be meeting with on the big day. You’ll show you want to be as prepared as possible for your interview, and you’ll be able to develop probable interview questions and responses tailored to the people in the room.
Once you have the names of the people you’ll be interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn and other social channels. Check out their background and their skills. If you’re going to be meeting with somebody in the same position as you, get clues about the job by reading how the person describes the role on LinkedIn.
Have you prepared your questions?
Here’s where all that research comes in. At the end of every interview, the hiring manager is going to ask, “What questions do you have for me?” This is your opportunity to show your knowledge of the industry, the company you’re applying for and your interviewer.
It’s also your chance to showcase yourself in this role by asking a question such as, “What is the most important or most immediate task that needs to be tackled?”
Cook recommends having at least three questions for the interviewer at the ready, so formulate some good ones before you call this task done.
Are you ready for curveball questions?
While you can never be totally prepared for any tricky interview question, you can at least enter the interview with a solid understanding as to why these questions are asked. That way, you’ll able to answer them with the interviewer’s goal in mind: Seeing how you think on the fly.
“Since marketing and digital media is so fluid, our workers need to be nimble on how they attack problems,” says Mike Matus, CEO and owner of Tower Marketing, a Pennsylvania-based marketing agency, “Being able to answer those questions well that they’re not ready for is a good indicator on how well they will do on the job.”
Do you have a story to tell about your resume?
One great way to humanize your past work experience is to create a resume story. Laura MacLeod, human resources expert, LMSW and creator of From The Inside Out Project, says a resume story is used to show who you are “beyond the piece of paper.”
To develop your resume story, MacLeod suggests discussing something from a previous job you found interesting or humorous, or talking about an early mistake you made in your career. “This shows your humanity and ability to make mistakes and learn from them,” says MacLeod.
At any media job, you’ll be interacting with people, sharing interests and collaborating on a team. So show how you’ll be able to do these things in your resume story, says MacLeod: “Know who you are—as a person—and share that.”
Do you understand your value?
Rather than solely proving you have the technical skills to land the job, Juhea Kim, editor in chief at pulsd and co-founder of the healthy living site Peaceful Dumpling, says interview prep is more about recognizing value from both parties.
“When you can succinctly and confidently state how this is a uniquely, exceptionally beneficial arrangement for both sides, you’re ready for that interview,” says Kim.
One way to get the ball rolling on this is to take a good look at the responsibilities and required skills in the job description. The more you can make connections between past experience and skills needed in the prospective job, the more you can show the value you’d be able to contribute to this role.
Did you check every item off this list?
Small things, like remembering to print out your resume, can have a big impact come interview day. Prep everything on this list the days before to avoid forgetting key interview items.
- Prepare interview outfit (ironed, cleaned, hanging up ready to go)
- Print out enough resumes for everyone in the room, including a couple extras
- Tackle any personal primping (haircut, nails)
- Double check the interview information, ensuring you’re bringing everything requested
Looking for more interview tips? Check out Mediabistro’s career services to help you land that perfect gig.