Learn how to prepare for a job interview, from interview questions to follow-up communications.
From resumes to cover letters, there are many factors that come along with getting ready for a job interview. Today, we’re sharing our guide to interviewing, which includes tips on how to prepare for an interview like a pro.
Understanding the job requirements and responsibilities
Whether you are interviewing for a retail or corporate position, it’s important to understand the requirements and responsibilities of the role.
For example, a Retail Sales Representative candidate may need customer service and sales experience. Candidates applying for a cybersecurity position, on the other hand, may need to have knowledge about networking, operating systems, and web technologies.
Learning more about the organization
A great place to begin your interview preparation is by learning about the company. You should do some research about the culture and what employees think about working there.
You can also explore the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Verizon, for example, is home to ten employee resource groups (ERGs) where V Teamers can network while developing leadership skills and fostering teamwork and volunteerism:
- Verizon ADVANCE - Advocates for Disability, Accessibility, Neurodiversity, and Caregiver Empowerment
- Verizon BOLD - Black Originators, Leaders and Doers
- Verizon NAV - Native Americans of Verizon
- Verizon PACE - Pan Asian Corporate Excellence
- Verizon PACT - Parents And Caregivers Together
- Verizon PRISM - Lead with Pride
- Verizon SOMOS - The Voice of the Latinx Community
- Verizon UNITED - Progress Through Unity
- Verizon VALOR - Veterans and Advocates Leading the Organization Responsibly
- Verizon WAVE - Womxn's Association of Verizon Employees
If you study the ins and outs of the organization, then your interviewer is sure to be impressed with your enthusiasm and drive.
Preparing for the interview
In today’s workplace, there are many approaches to interviewing, including phone interviews, in-person interviews, and video interviews. The type of interview you will attend largely depends on the company’s policies and hiring process.
Preparing for a phone interview
Your first interview may be conducted by a recruiter over the phone. Here are a few phone interview tips:
- Smile! Although your interviewer cannot see you, smiling can help uplift your spirits. Your interviewer is sure to notice your positivity over the phone.
- Avoid using filler words. Expressions like “um,” “uh,” and “you know” may communicate doubt or uncertainty.
- Have a few resources handy. Place a few resources nearby to reference throughout the interview, including your resume, the company website, and your LinkedIn profile.
- Move around! Incorporating some movement can help bring your energy up, so feel free to walk around your home or office space.
In a phone interview, your recruiter will look out for exceptional communication skills and other skills and qualifications for the position. A phone interview is usually the first step before you are invited to the second round of interviews.
Preparing for an in-person interview
First impressions always matter. Here are a few in-person interview tips to present yourself in the best light:
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. If you are running late, be sure to let your interviewer know.
- Come prepared with your resume and any supporting materials.
- Dress professionally. Professional or business casual attire is generally appropriate for an in-person interview.
- Speak clearly and slowly so your interviewer can understand all of your key points. Do not rush through your answers.
Most importantly, be yourself! You will meet a few new faces during the interview, so be sure to exude confidence and friendliness.
Preparing for a video interview
In today’s job market, many companies are turning to video interviews as opposed to in-person meetings. Here are our interview tips for presenting your best self through video:
- Maintain eye contact by looking right into the camera, not the computer screen.
- Dress professionally as if you were attending an in-person interview.
- Ensure that your background is clutter-free and professional. Take the interview from an area secluded from noise and distractions.
- Conduct a practice interview beforehand to ensure that you will not encounter any technical issues on the big day.
When participating in a video interview, it is important to consider body language. Maintain good posture and refrain from slouching or crossing your arms to give the best first impression.
You may encounter additional questions, but rest assured that you’ll be prepared to answer these common interview questions and answers.
Questions to ask the interviewer
As you prepare, you should remember to bring your own interview questions to ask the employer. We suggest asking questions about the team culture, leadership and management styles, department goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs). A few examples include:
- Can you describe your team’s culture?
- How does this position fit into your overall team structure?
- What kind of training or learning resources are provided to new employees?
- What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Think carefully about which questions you want to ask, as they reflect how you think and what is important to you. Use the opportunity, while you have it, to get invaluable insight directly from current employees.
After the interview
Now that you’ve completed your final interview, you may be thinking, “What’s next?” At this point, you should brainstorm different ways to follow up after an interview, such as sending a thank you note.
Sending a thank you note can help you express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview, and for the other person’s time. In your follow-up email, feel free to share a brief, concise reflection on your experience with the interviewer, providing specifics that demonstrate you are enthusiastic about an opportunity.
A general rule of thumb is to send your follow-up email within 24 hours. If you don’t have the person’s email, find a way to track it down either by calling the main company number, emailing the recruiter who scheduled the interview, or finding the interviewer on LinkedIn and sending a message.
Inside scoop: Interviewing tips from a Verizon recruiter
When interviewing for your dream job, it’s important to be confident and honest. Here are four tips from Senior Recruiter Namrata Shah.
- It’s important for you to interview the company and decide if it’s a good fit for you. Interviews are not only about a recruiter deciding if a candidate is a good fit for the role — but it’s also about the candidate deciding if the company is a right fit for them! So, do your research about the company, and be sure to have the right questions for the interviewers to help you learn more about the company culture.
- Honesty is key! No interviewer expects you to have the right answer for every single question. Instead, you should take the opportunity to show you have the right attitude, zeal, and raw ability to learn.
- Be ready to share specific examples. Before your interview, go through your resume and gather some key relevant examples from your past experiences. Having examples on hand will help you present your answers in a crisp and organized fashion. You can also use strategies like STAR (Situation, Task, Action, & Response) as you share your real-world examples.
- Be yourself! Be specific about your individual contribution and what value you can bring to the team.
You will be faced with different types of interview questions, including traditional, behavioral, and technical questions. Here are some examples that your interviewer might ask, and how you can best answer them.
Good luck and happy interviewing!
Common interview questions and answers
This question gives interviewers a sense of the candidate’s self-awareness. When you speak about your strengths, interviewers want to hear about how you can apply your top skills to the role. When you speak about your weaknesses, interviewers want to see if you know areas of improvement, as well as steps you can take to improve. When answering this question, be sure to paint a well-rounded picture of yourself.
Still have questions about interview prep?
When it comes to scheduling your interview, the best time slot depends on the availability of your interviewer and yourself. Mid-morning and early afternoon interview times are great options.
In the later stages of the interview process, your recruiter may begin discussing the benefits and perks that the company offers. Information about benefits may also be available online depending on the company.
In most cases, our Verizon recruiters begin the conversation on salary during initial phone screens with candidates. At this time, you will be able to ask any questions regarding salary.
To politely decline an interview, you can simply send the recruiter a friendly message. For example, “Dear (recruiter), thank you for the opportunity to interview for the (position) at (organization). At this time, I will need to respectfully decline your interview offer. Thank you again for your consideration.”