How to Prepare for an Interview (When You Don’t Have Much Time)
Today’s job market isn’t just competitive—it’s fast. More and more often companies are making hiring decisions quickly, which means that the time between an interview request and an actual interview can be less than 24 hours.
Every job seeker knows that properly preparing for an interview can mean the difference between a call-back and a “We regret to inform you…” email (or no response at all). So how can you maximize a limited amount of time and still perform your best in the hot seat?
1. Study Your Resume.
Yes, it’s always important to learn about a company’s mission and vision prior to an interview. But when you have a short amount of time to prepare, you must have your own talking points ready to go. Make sure you can clearly articulate your major accomplishments in previous positions and explain how they relate to the position at hand. Don’t spend too much time trying to learn about your interviewer on LinkedIn or anticipate opportunities for small talk—that tends to come naturally. By knowing your own history inside-and-out, you’ll be able to apply your story and skills to any question that’s asked.
2. Memorize Your Dates and Names.
Once you have your accomplishments down pat, retrace your work history and recite the name of your past employers and the length of time you were employed there—from memory (no glancing at your resume). Failing to be able to provide this information on the spot can be a red flag for recruiters and hiring managers, so make sure you’ve committed it to memory.
3. Be Prepared to Answer Standard Interview Questions.
If an interview is scheduled quickly, it’s likely that your interviewer doesn’t have much time to prepare either. Consequently, you should expect tried-and-true interview questions: What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses? What would your current/last boss say about you? Why are you the best candidate for this position? Practice answering these questions aloud to ensure that your responses are thorough and thoughtful (but concise).
4. Have Your Questions Ready.
Your interviewer will almost always conclude the interview with, “So, do you have any questions for me?” The questions you ask can be just as important as your responses, so have a few at-the-ready. How will this position contribute to the company’s 2015 mission? What would you expect from this position in 3 months, 6 months, and a year? How has this position evolved since its creation? This is your opportunity to learn more about the position and show that you’ve been paying attention. Don’t pass it up!