So you got the call about the job. You’ve been scheduled for an interview. What’s next? Do you sit and wait for the interview and just wing it? Or do you prepare for it? I hope your answer was to prepare for it. I’ve shared some basic ways to help you prepare for your interview.
Step 1: Before the interview
Research the company
Go through the company’s website, editorials and annual reports. Read up on their ongoing projects, future plans and ultimate goals. Try to figure out the size of company, how many employees they have and what kind of work environment they offer. You’ll use this information to demonstrate your knowledge of the company during the interview.
Research the interviewer
If you are given the recruiters’ name beforehand, look into their social media profiles (Linkedin, Facebook, etc.). Try to find out their title, experience and overall personality. This will help you prepare questions and give you more confidence to face him/her in person. Keep all questions professional and not personal.
Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Ask about the role expectations, the culture, growth opportunities– anything that will give you a clearer picture of what it would be like to work for this organization. Asking questions shows you’re not only engaged in the interview, but interested and already thinking about your future with this company. Refrain from asking money related questions or when do you get your first vacation.
Prepare copies of important documents
Make copies of your resume/CV and other important documents (cover letter, list of references, etc.) in advance. You don’t want to be scrambling to get your documents organized the day of the interview! Keep your resume and other documents in a presentable folder. Don’t just carry papers in your hand. Most recruiters will bring a copy of your submitted documents to the interview, but if they fail to, you’ll be a step ahead.
Step 2: Day of the interview
Dress for success
As a general rule, it’s best to dress in formalwear, or at the very least, business casual. Men, if you do not own a suit, wear a nice dress shirt and slacks. Women have a little more flexibility, but you can’t go wrong with a nice blouse, blazer and a long skirt (trousers are also acceptable). Accessories are fine too, in moderation. Neutral colors such as black, gray, brown and blue are suitable for both men and women.
Too many candidates make the mistake of not eating before interviewing and suffer from a lack of attentiveness as a result. Before you go into the interview, eat a meal that contains vitamin E, omega 3 and antioxidants. This will improve brain functionality and help you stay alert.
Make sure to arrive at least 15-25 minutes before the interview begins. Arriving early sets the tone that you are a professional and will be reliable if offered the position. If you’re early you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. Don’t use your phone or other mobile devices to pass time when waiting. Instead, you should spend this time practicing your prepared questions and responses in your head.
Answering the questions
Speak clearly and with confidence when interviewing. Play up your strengths and translatable skills to show how you could be a potential asset to the target company. Keep your answers short, simple and honest. Don’t try to be over smart— instead present yourself as a confident and sensible professional. Never use slang words, clichés (ig. “I’m a people person”) or criticize a former employer when interviewing.
Step 3: After the interview
Leaving the Interview
After the interview has concluded, shake hands with the interviewer(s) and thank them for their time. If they don’t tell you when they will contact you going forward, ask about their expected decision-making period. Keep your head held high and leave with confidence.
After an appropriate amount of time (approximately 24 hours), follow up with the recruiter. Send each interviewer a thank-you note. 75 percent of interviewers confirmed that thank-you notes impact their decision process. So do yourself a favor and send a well-written, personalized response that reiterates why you’re the best candidate for the position.