This is the newest installment of our Ask a Career Coach series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.
I have an upcoming interview, but I don’t know what they’re going to ask me. How can I find out?
Looking for Answers
Dear Looking for Answers,
Before I dive into answering your question: Congrats! You’re off to an awesome start.
Prepping for an interview is essential, but many people go about it the wrong way. Think back to when you had to study for a test in school. You never knew exactly which questions would be on the test, so you had to review a little bit of everything in order to be as informed as possible, right?
All you can do is cover your bases and be ready for anything. Here’s how to do that:
1. Stalk the Company’s Social Media
Seriously! Companies post news they’re proud of here. So knowing about a blog post or a company retreat will give you talking points to drive the conversation. And seeing pictures of the office and the employees will not only give you a sense of the dress code (vital information for picking out your outfit), but also the general office vibe.
2. Study Relevant Company Products
You don’t have to arrive armed with a six-step plan for how to scale a new product (although, you could), but being able to talk intelligently about the company is key. So know what product you’d be working on in your role and come prepped with reasons why you like it, as well as a few suggestions for how it could be improved.
3. Research Your Interviewers
You typically receive an interview schedule with the names of the people you’ll be meeting ahead of time. (If not, don’t be afraid to ask for one!) Once you have this information, go to Google and see what you can find out. Between LinkedIn, social media, and any personal sites, you should be able to get an idea of what they’re passionate about professionally. Plan on talking about these topics a bit.
4. Know Why You’d Be Great at This Job
Review the job description and remind yourself not only why you wanted this role, but you’d be the perfect hire for it. Know your strengths (and yes, weaknesses) and come in with specific examples of why you’d be able to hit the ground running on day one. This is perhaps the most important (and, often, the most overlooked) step, because the better you know yourself, the easier it will be to think on your feet.
And, remember to breathe! That usually helps a lot.