Preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t know where to start. Job interviews, in general, are for a lot of people a stressful experience. Your key to success is to keep your anxiety under control in such a way that you can manage your stress. Solid preparation and a job interview preparation checklist can contribute to this and will help you sharpen your focus during the job interview. In other words, good preparation helps you beat your pre-interview stress.
If you’re well prepared for your interview, you can actually use your natural stress level to your advantage. An appropriate amount of stress can increase your productivity level and keep you on your toes during the interview. This is when you’re the sharpest version of you, and you will perform at your best.
In this blog, an 18 question job interview preparation checklist is discussed. Make sure you know how to answer each one of them in general. If you can do this, you have a good indication of what the company does, what markets they’re active in, what they’re company culture is like and who you will be talking to.
If you know the answers to these questions, you’re already one step ahead of the competition. Of course, there is a lot more work to do after this, but it can be used as a solid foundation to build your further preparation upon.
18 steps to a successful job interview – Job Interview Preparation Checklist
What does the company do?
First off, start by finding out what the company actually does. Do they sell products or services? What are these products or services? Try to find out what it exactly is that they do. Write down the name of their (most popular) products/services to get familiar with what they do.
Research the company website and about us page. Also, Google them to see what comes up.
What industries are they active in?
When you find out what they do you most likely understand in which industries the company is active. However, make sure to dig a bit deeper to find out all the activities of the company and in which industries they sell their products and/or services. Again, make sure to look up the company website, particularly the about us and company strategy pages.
Do they have any subsidiaries?
How is the company organized? Where are they exactly located? Is the company part of a larger organization or do they have any subsidiaries? If so, what do their subsidiaries do? In which markets are they active?
How many employees do they have?
This question speaks for itself. Find out how large the company is. Try to find information about the specific department in which the position that you applied for became available. This information is usually available on the company website. If you can’t find it there, try a Google search to get more information about the size of the company and its departments.
Who are their biggest clients and competitors?
By knowing who the company’s biggest clients and competitors are you can get a more clear image on who the company is selling their products too and who is
What is their company mission?
Interviewers like to ask job applicants what they already know about the company. Again, this question has asked for two reasons. Firstly, to see if you did your homework and took the time to research the company. Secondly, the interviewer wants to find out what’s important to you based on the company mission and if there’s a match.
The mission of a company can usually be found online on the company website and/or social media accounts.
What are their company values?
During your job interview, it’s very likely you will get values-based interview questions. These questions are asked to identify if you share the same values as the company. If you share similar values, the chance is higher that you will fit better into the workplace. In turn, this increases the chances of you staying with the company for a longer period of time. Therefore, it’s important for companies to ask such questions to job candidates.
Therefore, always expect to get value-based interview questions during your job interview.
What is their company culture like?
Just like values-based job interview questions are questions that regard the company culture asked to ensure that a job candidate they hire will be a good fit for them. Prior to your job-interview make sure you look at the company website, and social media accounts for clues to get an idea of the company culture. Try to get an idea of daily work practices, previous successes and how they were celebrated and any other news or stories that could give you some more insights into the organization.
Also, make sure you ask questions during the interview to get to know more about the company culture. Think of questions such as:
- What was the last big achievement for the company that was celebrated?
- How does the company measure success and over what time frame? How are these metrics determined?
- What learning and development opportunities are there for employees?
Is the company more corporate or more casual?
To get an impression of the dress code, have another look at the social media accounts of the company. Also, review the company website to see if there are any pictures of the employees and the office itself. This way you will get a good impression of how the employees dress and how you should dress to the job interview.
It’s important to remember that without even saying a word you already made an impression based on your interview attire. Therefore, make sure you dress the way as is expected from you.
What do the employees say about the company?
Researching what (former) employees of the company have to say about them will give you valuable insights into what working for the company is really like. On websites such as Glassdoor, you can read actual company reviews by employees. You can learn a lot from other people’s experience within the company to get a better view of what working there will be like.
Is the company currently expanding?
This question is important to get to know if the company is growing or has the potential to grow. For you, as a job candidate, it means that you can grow with the company if they’re expanding. The company career page will give you a good view of the current job openings. If there are a lot of openings in a lot of departments you can ask questions about this during the interview too. Ask questions such as:
- In what ways did the company grow in recent years?
- How does the company view employees being a part of the growth?
- What’s the company’s view on future expansion, growth and reaching into new markets?
Has the company been in the news lately? Why?
Google the company, check news sites and the company blog. This way you can show that you are aware of recent company developments during the job interview.
Did the company host or participate in any large events recently?
Were they for instance present on any trade fairs or exhibitions? Did you see them there or did you hear about it from someone else? Check the social media accounts, company website and their blog for any news or updates about any large event where the company has been preset.
Who are the company’s competitors?
Chances are that you will get a question about who the company’s competitors are. This question is asked to see how well you know the field and the companies with which the company is competing. The answer you give to this question shows whether you’ve had a good preparation for the job interview and have some global understanding of the industries in which the company is active. Therefore, it’s important not to only research the company to which you’re applying but also it’s main rivals.
What are the company’s unique selling points?
What does to the company do that is unique? In addition, what makes their products and/or services different that their competitors? A unique selling point is a unique quality and explains how that specific quality benefits the customers of the company. Check the company website to figure this out and try to get your hands on some marketing materials used by the company.
What distinguishes the company from its competitors?
The unique selling points, also called unique selling propositions, as described under 15. are what makes the company’s products or services different than the ones of the competition. For instance, does the company use differentiation to provide superior value to its customers at an affordable price? Are they using different differentiation strategies for their products, services, distribution channels, etc? Do your research so that you get to know this.
Who will interview you?
If you figure out who will interview you, you can do background research on them. If you don’t know, ask the recruiter, human resources department or your contact person who will interview you. Make sure to figure this out up front so that you know if you will be meeting with one or more interviewers. Figure out what their names, titles, and roles are within the company.
What does the interviewer do in the company?
Find out what the interviewer exactly does within the company and what their history is. You can use this during the interview if there’s any common ground between you and the interviewer.
Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic