Let’s face it: Interviews are stressful no matter how much of a seasoned professional you are.

Many candidates dread interviews because it feels like an hour of scrutiny, but what some candidates don’t realize is that interviews are a dual evaluation. What we mean by dual evaluation is that employers are interviewing and evaluating you, at the same time you should be interviewing and evaluating them. The interview is your opportunity to dig deeper into the role and organization just as much as it’s the employer opportunity to get to know you. So what’s our secret to getting over the pre-interview jitters? Preparation.

Interviewing is part of our everyday routine, and we have developed a fool proof guide to help review what to do before, during, and after an interview to decrease stress and impress your interviewer. In this post we will review top tips and tricks for interviews, but if you are looking for a more in-depth guide to interview preparation, download our white paper ORS Partners’ Guide to Interview Preparation.

Before the interview…
Research. You should begin conducting research on the company and interview team a few days before your interview. This will allow the information to sink in and makes you avoid the night before research scramble. You may think you are prepared with a quick skim of a company’s website, but your level of knowledge on the company’s values, culture and current events can help interviewers gauge your interest level. Additionally, company websites, social media and news pages can be great sources to help you create intuitive and thoughtful questions for your interviewers.

During the interview…
Know your personal introduction. What’s your story? If you do not enjoy talking about yourself, you probably don’t enjoy being ask to, “Tell me about yourself.” However, the answer to this question might be your ticket to landing the job… This prompt gives you the floor to go beyond your resume and tell them who you really are. Practice your response to this question before you get to your interview, so when you hear it (and you will hear it…) you are relaxed and able to tell the story of who you are and what you bring to the table.

After the interview…
Follow up, old school style. We are sure you have heard that you should follow up your interview with a thank you note or email to your interview team, and we agree. However, we want to emphasize the importance of this simple gesture. A hand-written thank you note is an additional opportunity for a touchpoint with the recruiter and/or interview team. It provides you with the last word on why you are a great fit for the role. If you ask thoughtful questions in your interview, you can utilize the information gathered from these responses to formulate your note. This note will leaving a lasting impression so make it count!

Bottom line is that interviews can be intimidating, but remember that if an organization is willing to invite you to interview, it means they liked your background and experience enough to invest their time in you. So take the time to prepare: research, know your story, and follow up. Good luck!