Preparing for an interview takes preparation and practice. You must make a great first impression! That is accomplished by having a good appearance, a thorough knowledge of your target company and its product/services and knowing exactly how to convey that you’re the person for the job.
Below is a list of pre-interview tips; from strategizing about how to answer the toughest questions to the conclusion of the interview.
Dress and Pack Appropriately
- Plan the appropriate attire. For companies that have a business or business casual dress code, keep your look basic and conservative for the first interview. Dress a step above the people you will be meeting.
- Make sure you get your attire is cleaned, pressed, and tailored.
- Don’t forget about the little things: Shine your shoes, check for loose hems, and fingernails manicured, cover visible tattoos, do not over use perfume or cologne. These are the details people notice!
- Do a little pampering! When you feel your best, you will do your best. That means you need a facial, haircut, shave, or even a new interview outfit, then do it! Feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence, confidence is key to landing your dream job.
- Print out several copies of your resume. You never know who you’ll be meeting with and you want to have your resume ready in case you’re asked for it.
- Prepare a reference list. Each reference must include a name, title, organization, division or department, telephone number, and email address, as well as a sentence briefly explaining the relationship (only supervisors, peers or subordinates).
- Prep an interview kit for your purse, briefcase or portfolio. It should include the extra copies of your resumes, a notepad and a copy of the job description.
- Clean out your bag/portfolio. Everything you need should be neatly organized and readily accessible.
Know Your Audience
- Learn everything you can about the company and the people you will be interviewing with. By doing so, you’ll get the larger picture about the company and the culture.
- Get a sense of “who” the company is and how you would fit into the organization. Read the company’s website, LinkedIn profile and Facebook page. The tone of the company’s content will be very insightful. Additionally, read individual employees’ LinkedIn profiles to learn about the type of people work there and their backgrounds.
- Twitter can also be an excellent resource because you can see what the company and its employees are talking about.
- No matter the role you’re interviewing for – review/use the product or service before your first interview. It is very important to understand the company’s products and services.
- Review company information on Glassdoor for company reviews from current and previous employees. However, use the reviews only as a guide, not fact. Reading reviews can reveal some common themes, which can help you develop insightful questions to ask. Remember, disgruntled ex-employees write most of the reviews.
- Before your interview, get a list of the people you’re meeting with from the company. Make sure you know their background and reputation to the extent possible – including what type of behavior might intrigue them or turn them off. Finally, prep some questions that are specific to each interviewer: Ask for details about their focus at the company, discuss current events on his specialty or common interest you have outside the office.
- Different firms use different interview formats. For example, some companies will ask case questions or brain teasers while others will give a standard set of typical interview and leadership questions. Ask the recruiter about the interview format and invest time to become familiar with the style.
Questions You May Be Asked – And How to Answer Them
- It is essential to spend time thinking carefully about what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers will resonate with your interviewers. The examples you share will probably be slightly different everywhere you interview.
- Have an answer to “tell me about yourself!” ready to go. Interviewers will ask it and you want to be ready to present positively at first part of the interview.
- Don’t be thrown off by the classic, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Think of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, a common one is, “I am not strong at public speaking.” Then be prepared to described what you are doing to overcome the weakness.
- You will be asked if you have any questions. Have several prepared to ask. Such as, about the company, short term/long term plans, the department, the specific role you are interviewing for.
- Understand and prepare the numbers! Finding numbers, percentages, increases, or quotas you can use when discussing your responsibilities and accomplishments. It also indicates to a hiring manager you are good at what you do and prepared to talk about it.
- Be ready to answer why you are interested in the role and company. While preparing, consider why you’re interested in the position and identify a couple of key factors that make it a great fit for you.
- Practice how to answer questions. Do so by looking in the mirror and answering them aloud. This will help you clarify your thoughts and make you much more comfortable during the interview.
- Do mock interviews with a family member or friend. You’ll be much better at answering questions like… “So, tell me about yourself!” and “What would you bring to the position?”, “Why should we hire you?”
As the interview is ending, make sure you have specifically detailed your interest in the position.
ASK FOR THE JOB!
Ask for a business card from each person you interview with. You will need their contact information to send a “Thank you” note within 24 hours of the conclusion of the interview.