An interview is your opportunity to create a great first impression on a potential employer. It’s the time that that employer has provided you to highlight your talents and experience as they relate to the job at hand.
So, how do you best prepare for such an opportunity? How do you put your best foot forward? First, let’s start with how you prepare for an interview before we dive into the interview process in later posts.
Research the Employer and Interviewers
In short, do your homework. Gathering background information on employers is a crucial element in successful interview preparation. You will want to be prepared to answer the question, “What do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?” Both questions are best answered by having some background information about the company. Knowing as much as possible about the company’s past performance and future plans can make your interview more interactive. And, it could just be the leg up you need in a competitive job market.
Tied to this, research your interviewers. You never know, maybe you have a connection with them that may be meaningful and worth bringing up in introductions. It’s a great way to show you’ve done your homework!
LinkedIn is an excellent source of such information. And “connecting” with your interviewers via LinkedIn is a great way to get yourself in front of your potential employer once again.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
It can’t be overstated enough. Going through the job posting and being prepared to answer any questions related to the job duties listed is key. Also, if you don’t have a repository of questions already, google some common interview questions. Then, focus your preparation on reviewing and having answers prepared for them.
TOP TIP: Think of 5-6 “meaty” professional work examples and accomplishments. For example, an upset customer situation you turned around, a time you worked on a cross-functional team, etc… The more angles there are to your example, the more ways you can use it to answer a variety of different type of questions. While you may not know the questions you will be asked, this tip will give you the ability to have an example ready for just about any type of question asked.
Do a Drive-By
Even if you know the location of your interview, do a quick drive-by the location during roughly the same time of your interview a few days in advance of it. This will alert you as to traffic issues, road construction, and give you an idea where to park. That way you can arrive well before your interview and there is nothing additional to add to your nerves on the big day.
Plan Your Attire
Plan your attire head to toe – literally. A nice suit with sport socks is not impressive! Be careful of distractions such as noisy jewelry or too flashy of an outfit. If in doubt, go conservative and business professional unless it’s strictly a more casual work environment like a factory or warehouse. Even then, it depends on the job you are applying for.
How do you plan for an interview?
How do you plan for your interviews? As we start this interviewing series, we will dive into the process much more but for now, the pre-planning stage is the first step to a great interview. How do you make sure that you are well-prepared?