Everything you need to know to prepare for the hiring process

How to Prepare for the Hiring Process - as a Candidate

Competition is fierce these days, especially amongst creative candidates looking for a new role. Our best advice for weathering that competition?  Learn to stand out, but also be prepared for the ongoing hiring process. Some have called job searching a second job—and it’s true. With all the research, updating, communication, mental focus, and practice required, it is. But there are ways of simplifying the process so that you don’t burn out. So let's dive into ways you can make your hiring process experience as a candidate go smoothly so that you’re confident with every step you take.

1. Align and Strengthen Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is the first-glance coming attraction for what a hiring manager can expect from you. If your homepage is a mess or outdated, hiring managers will probably not reach out. Style and design aside, strengthening your portfolio is an exercise that builds confidence in your talent, communication, and skills, for yourself and anyone who’s looking. Read your dream job descriptions to fully understand what skills you need to showcase in your portfolio. Ask your friends for feedback—especially if they already have a job similar to the one you desire. Continually update based on the feedback of people you value and those who want to see you succeed. 

2. Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter to the Job

When it comes to your resume and cover letter, have one solid first draft for each. Then iterate on your draft for each job application, saving a new draft each time. When it comes to resumes, tailor them to the job description by scanning for and adding relevant keywords. Your work history will remain intact, but small details around projects, skills, and interests should apply to the job. Take the opportunity to write a cover letter every time, even if it’s not required. A cover letter doesn’t just help you stand out, it acts as a teaser for them (a brief outline for you) of what to discuss in your interview. It also is another opportunity to show your personality, create a strong first impression, and even get creative. Craft one solid cover letter that covers the essentials about you and then tailor the intro and conclusion to the company you want to work for. Edit skills as needed, but also keep it short. As stated, it’s a teaser—they’ll get to know more about you during the interview.

3. Showcase your collaboration and creative process

From management skills to teamwork on projects, companies will want to see all aspects of how you collaborate and communicate on the job. Discussing your creative process is another important part of how you collaborate. This is why all creative portfolios, regardless of job title, benefit from case studies. Case studies showcase your work alongside your entire process and describe how you work in teams. They provide hiring managers with a sneak peek before ever reaching out. Case studies often help you answer difficult behavioral interview questions, too. They are direct work examples of your collaboration, creative process, and communication skills that you can easily tap into, present, and discuss during interviews. Finally, don’t neglect the follow-up emails and thank-yous—it’s one last way you show the type of communicator you are.

4. Be familiar with industry trends and the company

This step can be saved for when you hear back from a hiring manager, but it’s also good to do while you’re reading the job description. Get to know the company by studying their values and weighing whether or not your values are aligned. Look at the company within their industry and examine how they’re thriving, who their competitors are, and anything you would love to be a part of, given the chance that you could work for them. Get familiar with the platforms you’d be working on, like their social media accounts and apps, and reach out to current employees to get an understanding of what it’s like to work there. The more you know, the better you will be prepared for upcoming interviews.

5. Practice interviewing and presenting

So you’ve landed a set of interviews with a company you admire. Congratulations! Now it’s time to practice interviewing. Thanks to AI, you can prepare for interviews in a whole new way by engaging the robot to follow a classic interview script based on the job description at hand. For details on how, check this article out. You can also speak to a current employee about what their interviews were like or research interview experiences at the company on Glassdoor. If you’re given a test, devote as much time as you can to completing it to the best of your ability. Use the prompts from the test to create a presentation if you’d like, showcasing how you’ve already completed similar projects, and use the same language from your case studies to discuss soft skills like management, communication, organization, process, and problem-solving.

TLDR; You might look at these tips and still feel like this is all too much work. But the most important thing to remember is that all the above work can be done once and then improved upon. After your first interviews, for example, you will become an interviewing pro. All of your previous experiences will only serve to enhance your next experiences. This is key to reminding yourself to relax and rest—it may feel like a part-time job at first, but it gets easier after doing the work upfront.

Finally, it's so helpful to remember that you can only control what you can control. You can’t control whether or not a company ghosts you or ultimately hires from within. The hiring process prep is a way to clarify the controllables, giving you a better leg up each time you apply and interview.

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