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Finding your next job - The Next Step Project
For Job Seekers

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4. Preparing for the interviews & offer

You got the interview! How do you ace it?

Why it matters

It’s natural to get nervous and anxious about interviews - especially when it can feel like there’s so much riding on them. The good news is that with preparation (e.g., doing your due diligence on a role, the company) and practice, you can reduce those concerns! By doing these, you:
Have a chance to finesse your responses and identify areas to work on
Can build your confidence as you realize how much you do know, how much you’ve done, and the value you bring to any company lucky enough to have you.

What to remember

You have so much to offer
Don’t forget it. Write down what you’ve done or ask trusted peers to remind you.
This is a 2-way street
You are interviewing the company as much as they are you. Re-visit the values you wanted in your next role and find out whether this company aligns with those.
Don’t make decisions out of fear
Getting a job is important, but make sure you’re saying yes with your eyes wide open and not because you’re terrified.
Don’t be scared to negotiate
Even in a tough job market, do not settle for less than what you’re worth. There are also many other dimensions of your compensation to negotiate on, outside your salary: vacation, 401k, sign-on bonus, etc.

What to do

Do your homework
Study the company and people
This includes checking out LI profiles of those who work at the company in the departments and roles you’re interested in.
Know your worth and your salary expectations
It’s essential that throughout your process, especially since they often happen early on.
Research what your salary rate may be by checking out or the for U.S. positions to make sure your offer is in line with market rates in your region (e.g., there’s salary differences between the Midwest and the West Coast).
Never disclose a number if you can avoid it. Instead, try to get a sense of what the salary range is for the role. Remember that in some states, employers are not allowed to ask you for your past salary history.
Remember: It’s a hard balance between negotiating for what you’re worth and handling the reality that employers may not be able to provide the same salaries and benefits they have in the past. This should not stop you from asking politely though.
Prepare questions for your interviewers, too!
This demonstrates the strength of your interest in the role and company (as well as your interviewer(s)!) - and can be a great way to make the .
Get clarity early on from HR about the interview process and stages.
You don’t want to leave an important question “if you make it to round 2”, only to find out it’s a one-shot panel interview.
Prep and practice
Review your 30 second pitch to make sure it links to why you are the best fit for the company or the position.
Review , or do your own .
Prep your space (e.g., lighting, background, props) to !
Send a thank you
Send this to your interviewers right after your interview - either directly to their work emails if you have them or via the recruiter.
Tip: pre-write your note - leveraging - so you can quickly update it with details and send.
Check the fit for you
You’ve done your homework, you got the offer - but now you’ll want to really confirm: is this company and role the right place for you? Even if you see this as a stepping stone, it’s crucial to ask to speak to other employees, have another follow-up conversation with your potential boss, and to make sure this is the right fit for you. Remember to look at what your requirements were for your next role and check that the team and company align to those!

What to leverage

Mock interview: do your and ask a friend or former colleague to help!
Offer negotiation practice: practice how you’ll walkthrough the negotiations with a friend or former colleague (Resources for how are below!)

More Resources

Here’s suggested questions you should be prepped for or use in your interviews

It’s a tough time to job hunt - so the idea of negotiating in a scarce job market is scary. But it’s important and you can and need to do it. Here’s resources to help you get ready for that conversation

You did it!

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