Preparing for Your Interview

If you’ve been invited to interview, congratulations! Considering how saturated the job market is these days, this is a huge accomplishment. Take a second to celebrate this win, then buckle down and prepare for the big day. It’s crucial to stand out – so take some time and utilize these tips to prove to your interviewers why you’re the best person for the job.

Know Yourself

This may seem self-explanatory, but you shouldn’t hesitate or need to think about your past experiences. It’s important to know your resume and make your accomplishments quantifiable. By allowing your interviewers to visualize and measure the contributions you’ve made, they can envision the impact you’ll create within their company.

Identify your key strengths and weaknesses. The strength/weakness question is infamous, but interviewers want to know where you excel. When asked about your weaknesses, they want to see how self-aware you are and if you’re actively doing anything to  improve upon these weaknesses. As long as your weakness doesn’t directly align with a key skill or trait they require, they’ll be appreciative of your honesty and dedication to bettering yourself.

Be able to explain why you want the job. What key attributes, roles, or skills do you identify with? Recruiters want potential candidates to be enthusiastic and have a passion that aligns with the job description and company’s mission.

Prepare answers for common interview questions. It’s good to anticipate questions and practice your responses out loud. By practicing, you can ensure a thorough response without becoming “long winded.” Be sure to concisely provide context behind your answer, explain the action you took, and what the result was. This will give your interviewers a full picture of your experience.

Research the Company

It’s important to do your homework on the company. In addition to understanding their mission, products, and values, check them out on social media. Here you’ll get a feel of the company culture along with any news updates or announcements. Mentioning a recent change or congratulating them on a big accomplishment shows that you have prepared, and you’re excited about what they’re up to.

If you know who is interviewing you, look them up on LinkedIn. You may find a connection between you two. At the very least, you can see their career path and what they’re interested in.


To avoid being late or feeling rushed, look up the company’s location, anticipate traffic, and allow for extra time so you can arrive early.

Know what you’re wearing the night before. Choose a professional outfit that you feel confident in. If you’re unsure what the dress code is, it’s always better to overdress.

Bring a hard copy of prepared questions for your interviewers. It’s good to have this as a reference, so you don’t forget anything you want to ask.

Finally, bring a few copies of your resume, pen and paper to take notes, and a portfolio (if applicable) to show off your work.

Your interview is an opportunity to showcase your skills and demonstrate how you can be an asset to the company. If you prepare well, have confidence, and stay positive, there is no doubt that you will ace your interview. For you, the hard part is over, and hopefully you become the easy choice for the hiring manager. Good luck!

Tips for Interview Questions

Remember your first interview for a professional job? Like me, I am sure someone told you to have questions prepared to ask. It can be difficult to come up with questions to ask that will help you vet the company and that the hiring manager thinks are good questions. The tips below may help you if this is your first interview or if you are seasoned veteran.

Hiring Manager / Team tips:

Do’s: Most of us like to understand the team, culture, and what it would be like to work for the manager. Here are some sample questions that will help you understand these areas and what hiring managers might like to hear.

Sample questions to ask:

  1. What makes someone successful in this role?
  2. What does a typical day look like?
  3. What recent successes and recent challenges has the team had?
  4. Have you implemented any new technologies or processes in the past 6 months?
  5. What is your favorite thing about working for this company? What is the biggest challenge?

Don’ts: Typically, you don’t want to ask the hiring manager or team about pay, benefits, or work from home policies. If you are interviewing for a contract role then don’t ask about pay or benefits since that is likely handled by your recruiter. Pay, benefits, or policies are best to ask your recruiter.

Human Resources:

Do’s: HR usually is the first or last interview you have with a company. If first, then it is all about them getting to know you. It is best to keep this conversation positive across the board. If this is a direct hire role, then it can be useful to ask about benefits or policies but in a positive way.

Sample questions to ask:

  1. This is what I learned about your company online (provide info), what else you should I know?
  2. What makes someone successful at your company?
  3. What is your favorite thing about working for this company?
  4. I am open to working any schedule needed, does your company have flex time?
  5. I am comfortable coming into the office every day, does your company have any kind of work from home policy?
  6. Do you mind providing some information on your benefits?

Don’ts: Typically, HR won’t have a lot of specific information to provide on technology, so it may be best to avoid those questions until you speak with someone who has an IT background. Plainly asking do you let people work from home or do you have flex time may make the HR rep nervous that you don’t like being in the office or won’t be available for meetings later in the afternoon / early morning. Opening those questions in the manner I suggested in the sample should limit any potential concern.

Always feel free to contact your TNE recruiter before an interview if you would like any advice on what questions to ask in your interview. Hopefully these tips will help you in your next interview and take away some the nervousness when it comes to good questions to ask. Good luck!