The Interview: It’s a test, but also not

You’re finally done with school and out in the real world, and now it’s time to start looking for work. So that’s what you do, and next thing you know, you’ve got a few interviews lined up. How do you prepare for those interviews? That depends on the company. And how do you learn about the company? Well, I’ve got some bad news: you briefly revert to being a student. Or, in other words, you get on the company’s website, and you study like you’re preparing for a test.

But hold on, because this isn’t a test. You’re not measured against an answer key; you’re measured against other candidates, and if you don’t get the job, there might not be anyone to tell you where you went wrong. So, more so than ever, you want to make sure your study tactics are up to snuff.

Luckily for you, Vox.com is here to tell you everything you’ve always done wrong while studying in the past, and to provide some new techniques, all courtesy of Peter Brown, author of the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. No, it’s not written for job seekers and so some of it might seem a bit superfluous, but it really is a great resource.

Personally, I thought the most important tip was tip #6: Don’t cram — space out your studying. Sure, like Brown says, cramming might’ve done you well on a few little tests and quizzes, but like we’ve already established, this is different. There aren’t 10 pieces of information about a company that you can recite in order to get your interviewer to check the “Knows His/Her Stuff” box. This is a conversation. You don’t just need to know information; you’ve got to be comfortable enough with that information to relate it back to the questions that your interviewer asks. So start prepping EARLY. Then, by the time the interview rolls around, you won’t be struggling just to remember what you learned; you’ll just know it.

But anyway, that’s just one of many helpful tidbits here. So, read the article, and then get online and start learning about the companies that might pay your salary in the future!

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