10 Interview Tips to Help Land the Job
1. Show up on time and know where you’re going (virtually or physically).
Since the pandemic started, many companies have adopted virtual interviews while some continue to interview in person. When scheduling your interview, make sure to ask any questions you have about accessing your virtual interview space or specific directions to the location of your interview. This could include anything from account creation, access codes, or software downloads for a virtual interview to parking, building location on a corporate campus, or check-in requirements for in-person interviews. Make sure you build in plenty of extra time to get to your interview for any last-minute issues that might arise.
“It sounds simple, but be on time, and know exactly where you’re going,” says Gayle Byers, corporate recruiter. “If you are on time and in the right place, you can begin your interview with confidence, not to mention it will leave a favorable impression on your prospective employer.”
2. Research the position and company.
“Do as much research as you can about the company and position you’re interviewing for,” says Sarah Salerno, senior corporate recruiter. “When someone shows up for an interview and knows little or nothing about Gannett Fleming or the role they’re applying for, this will not leave the most favorable impression.”
Knowledge is power. Do your research by investing time to get to know the company and its employees better. Review the corporate and careers websites as well as their social media channels. You’ll get a good feel for the organization, and it can also help you generate questions you’d like to ask the interviewer.
3. Highlight your involvement in professional associations or community initiatives, especially if you’re a student or just starting in your career.
Many early-career professionals struggle with meeting the experience requirements listed in job descriptions, even those that are considered entry level. Students, recent graduates, or even job seekers changing careers can gain valuable experience through volunteer work that aligns with their industry and provides real-world experience or by getting involved in industry organizations.
“If you’re an emerging professional and don’t have a lot of experience yet, highlight your involvement in professional associations or community service initiatives,” says Kristen Vavrek, corporate recruiter. “This shows us you’re a well-rounded candidate who can handle multiple commitments.”
4. Test any equipment you’re using ahead of time.
“Do a trial run of any technology you’re using to ensure everything is working as it should to prevent hiccups on the big day,” says Byers.
Being able to interview from the comfort of your home can be an advantage for calming nerves, but ensuring your technology – webcam, speakers, and microphone – are all working properly in advance of your virtual interview is crucial to starting off on the right track. Additionally, if you are interviewing in person, make sure items like slide decks, external devices, and internet access will all be available or compatible prior to arriving at your interview.
5. Focus on the positive.
There is a reason you are exploring new opportunities. You may be deeply unhappy in your current role or disenchanted with your supervisors or the company in general. No matter the circumstances, it’s important to come to your interview with an optimistic, confident attitude and let your enthusiasm for the opportunity shine. Focus on how you’ve grown and what you look forward to in the future.
“Be positive and smile!” says Salerno. “Avoid speaking ill of a company or supervisor, and instead focus on your positive traits and what you will bring to the table.”
6. Be prepared to discuss your salary expectations.
It’s one of the most feared interview questions: what is your expected salary? Many candidates worry that going too low could leave money on the table while going too high could remove them from the running entirely.
“I recommend thinking about this question in terms of where you see yourself,” says Gia Eppolito, senior corporate recruiter. “I hear a lot of ‘I don’t know how to answer this question,’ to which I always reply, ‘I don’t need to know what it is you’re making now, but I would like to know where you’d like to see yourself financially as you take the next step in your career.’”
7. Be an interview STAR.
Looking to be a super star at your next interview? Masai Lawson, senior manager of talent acquisition and inclusion, has an easy formula to help you become one.
“The STAR method is a behavioral interview technique that allows employers to understand more about your traits and characteristics. You explain a prior work situation anecdotally, provide specifics regarding the tasks required, detail the actions you took to complete those tasks, and lastly, explain the results of the situation,” says Lawson. “Answering questions this way provides the interviewer with an opportunity to better understand your ability to solve problems, your leadership style, and many other areas you may need to demonstrate to be effective in the role you are targeting.”
Some go-to interview questions and scenarios job seekers can apply the STAR method to include:
- What is your greatest strength and why?
- What is your greatest weakness and why?
- Tell me about your greatest accomplishment and why you chose it.
- Tell me about a time X happened and what you did about it.
Prior to your interview, take some time to think through 3-5 situations you can easily draw from to apply the STAR method. This will enable you to think quickly on your feet during your interview, particularly in instances where you might be asked to discuss a negative situation.
8. Know what you want out of the next stage in your career.
We all wish we could gaze into a crystal ball and see what our future will be. Trying to plan your career roadmap can seem impossible when so many of us take unexpected detours and U-turns along the way. However, it’s important to keep career growth in mind, including where you’d like to see yourself in the next stage of your career and the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goals.
“I’m not a fan of the popular ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ interview question, but I always feel it’s important to talk about career growth,” says Tim Morda, corporate recruiter. “I like to ask the question ‘If you were to stay in your current role, what does the next step in your career path look like?’ The most common answer I hear is ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘The only way I can move up is if my manager or someone else leaves.’ Know what you want out of your career and what will ultimately make you happy.”
9. Prepare a list of your greatest accomplishments and what makes you stand out from the competition.
In advertising, it’s important to show, not just tell, so a good advertiser will promote a restful night’s sleep as opposed to just a mattress. Interviewing can work the same way. Rather than telling your interviewer you’re a good fit for the position, show them through your knowledge, education, and experience how you will benefit the hiring manager and company. A great way to achieve this is through knowing your accomplishments and incorporating them into the conversation.
“Before your interview, make notes highlighting your greatest accomplishments that illustrate how you would be an asset for the role you are interviewing for,” says Salerno. “The more you can demonstrate you’re an excellent fit for the role, the more your chances increase of landing the job.”
Another way to achieve this is to feature your accomplishments on a personal website. Get creative by using graphics or pictures of interesting trips you’ve taken and hobbies or work you’ve done in the community. This allows the employer to better understand who you are and connect with you on a different level.
10. Ask questions!
Don’t forget: an interview is a two-way street. The interviewer is getting to know you to see if you’ll be a good fit for the role and company, but you should also ask questions to find out if they will be in alignment with your goals, values, and work/life balance requirements.
“Asking us questions during the interview shows enthusiasm, genuine interest in the position you’re interviewing for, and a desire to learn more about our company,” says Vavrek.
If you feel the position and company will be a good fit for you at the end of the interview, take the opportunity to ask the interviewer if they have any hesitations with moving forward with you as a candidate. This will give you an opportunity to clear up any doubts the interviewer might have while also giving you one last chance to show your fit for the position.
Put your interview skills to work for you!
Now that you’re armed with our best interview tips and tricks, it’s time to apply for your next great opportunity! Gannett Fleming is committed to employee success through learning and development, competitive benefits, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and encouraging a spirit of innovation. Check out our open positions to apply today, and learn more about what to expect during our hiring process!