Navigating the hiring process is an intimidating journey no matter how experienced you are. Recruiters, future managers, and coworkers are making their first impressions of you while you attempt to put your best foot forward. Although there are many pieces of the process involved, you can practice simple habits that prepare for hiring success. By mastering each step of the hiring cycle, employers will get a taste of the value you bring to the table while letting you take control of the process as you can. If you are looking for easy, actionable tips to put your best foot forward throughout the interview process, follow these easy steps.

Do the Research

Nothing ends an interview process faster than a hiring manager feeling like you are submitting a vague application. In this competitive job market, companies want to see that you are passionate about their mission and are willing to do anything it takes to land the role. There are a few areas you can research to get a well-rounded understanding of how a company operates. This will impress your interviewer and give you an accurate idea of how great a fit the company is for your personal goals. Doing the research will help you tailor your resume to best fit the job description and ask questions in your interview to prove you know the company well.

Research these areas of potential companies:

  • Leadership team and staff you may work with
  • Their mission and major accomplishments
  • The value and services they use to solve a market problem
  • Any specific culture details you may need to be familiar with
  • Salary and specific job benefits listed in the opening

Create Powerful Application Documents

Application documents are often the first thing potential employers use to make a judgment about you. Since they are bombarded with resumes and cover letters daily, you’ll want to take the right steps to make yours stand out. Think about what the employer wants to see, and how you can highlight those exact skills in your documents. Draft a strong personal mission statement that aligns with the company’s impact. Use the job description to help you with your language in your resume to make it past application tracking systems. Write a powerful (and concise) cover letter explaining why you are passionate about this specific company and why you are the best candidate for the job. The main strategy to keep in mind is that your hiring managers are looking for documents that best reflect the exact job description you are applying for.

Use these tips to master your application documents:

  • Submit concise documents with clean formatting
  • Begin all bullets with strong action verbs
  • Get personal in your cover letter and tell a strong story
  • Reflect keywords from the job description into your wording

Be Authentic in Interviews

Being authentic in interviews will add a personal touch to your first impressions. Interviews are human interactions, so put equal efforts into being warm and engaging as you do with showing off your knowledge of the role. Prepare answers to common questions so you are not stuck if you need to provide a great explanation. Think about personal and professional stories you can tell to engage and entertain your interviewer. You may be asked about challenges and accomplishments you’ve received in the past, so explain them well. You may also need to disclose issues regarding benefits, such as discussing mental health challenges or asking about holistic treatment options your benefits will cover. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself; you can prepare questions in advance or ask to be connected with HR if needed.

Use these questions to prepare for interviews:

  • What makes you the best candidate for this role?
  • What challenges have you overcome in the past?
  • What questions do you have about the role?
  • What project or mission would you love to achieve in this role?

Follow Up Proactively

The last key to mastering any interview process is to follow up at every step of the way. Following up shows the company you are on top of the process and willing to go above and beyond to land the role. The people you interact with at each point may vary, so build your connections with the people in charge of hiring you by adding a personal touch so they remember your name. Think about what impresses you about other people and ways to interact in ways that show off your interpersonal skills. Following up can look like a thank-you note, a phone call, or even an email.

Consider these methods of following up:

  • Send an email to the hiring manager if you have not heard back about your application
  • Send a thank-you card to your interviewer after you meet
  • Call the hiring manager if you have questions throughout the process
  • If you receive an offer, consider a thank-you email to your new boss

Mastering the hiring process is about being intentional at each step of the way and staying prepared. You will need to add a personal touch and be as thoughtful as you can in order to truly impress your future employers. Be sure to do your research, get creative, and prepare your responses well in order to put your best foot forward. By following these steps, you can be confident you will land the job of your dreams and stand out against the competition.

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.