Being well prepared for any job interview will increase your chances of receiving a job offer. When you are well prepared for the interview, you will come across a self confident professional and assured. Preparation allows you to take care of the details ahead of time, and minimize the effects of “Murphy’s Law”. (Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.) and allows you to focus on the task at hand…… Landing that job!
Preparing in advance gives you an advantage by:
Eliminating the fear of the unknown
When giving a speech, it is often helpful to overcome your anxiety and fear of “Freezing” by writing it out and practicing it ahead of time to someone else or in front of a mirror. We think you should apply the same technique to the interview process by writing out and practicing your responses to the most anticipated interview questions.
Reducing the element of surprise
If you prepare properly by taking care of the logistical details of getting to the interview and anticipating questions you’ll be asked, you will reduce your chances of being surprised and caught off guard.
Increase your self confidence
Employers look to applicants who are confident in their ability to do the job for which they are applying. Knowing that you have prepared thoroughly in advance only adds to your level of confidence. An attribute that will come across loud and clear to the interviewer.
Preparation falls into several categories
You must completely know the product you’re trying to sell. YOU! Remember you are promoting this product with the goal of getting the customer (the Interviewer) to buy your product instead of “another” model. Know your career goals, your skill-set, interests and aptitudes. Write them down. Be sure to include an honest list of your weaknesses.
Pratcice your interviewing skills
Make an effort to anticipate any question that will likely be asked during the interview. Know your answers to these questions inside and out. Be specific and detailed in your answers to these questions. Run these question and answer secessions during dinner, or while driving. Be ready to answer these questions at the drop of a hat.
Research the job and the company
This high-value activity often pays off handsomely. The more time you spend here, the less you waste later. Not only will you avoid wasting time on a job you don’t really want, you will impress an employer during an interview by taking the time to find out about the organization. The employers assumption is that your thoroughness here will show up in your job performance.
Know where you’re going:
- DON’T BE LATE! Right or wrong, employers will assume that if you are late for something as important as an interview, you’ll be late for the job.
- Find out exactly where the building, address, floor, and office where the interview is to take place. Don’t be late because you were wandering the halls trying to find the right office.
- Get directions. Call ahead and ask directions. You might also use “Google Maps”, “Yahoo Map”, “MapQuest” etc…
- Decide the best route to take. (Consider traffic during peak hours) Know an alternative route just in case you main route becomes blocked by traffic or construction.
- If at all possible, make a dry run. This greatly minimizes the guesswork when figuring the time it takes to travel to your destination. Not to mention, this will enhance your confidence level by knowing where you’re going.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes early so you can catch your breath and adjust. Visit the restroom. Check your appearance and practice a few interview answers one more time.
Countdown to the interview
What to do the day leading up to your interview
- Know the name of the person(s) conducting the interview. Write it down. Don’t rely on your memory.
- Have several copies of your resume. Hand one to each interviewer (Group interview only)
- Think about your agenda. Without taking over the interview, know the points you want to get across.
- Make sure your car has fuel. Have a map in your car just in case. If you’re using public transportation, have plenty of change and/or tokens.
- Have a little cash available for soda machines, pay-phones, etc…
- Decide on an outfit the day before. Choose something conservative. Cover any body art or piercings. Make sure the clothing is clean and pressed. Iron and starch your shirts. Shine your shoes. Show you’re detailed minded by being detailed in your appearance. Lay out your clothes the night before. Gather EVERYTHING you plan to wear. From Earrings, watches, neckties, tie pins and eyewear.
- Set your alarm clock. Give yourself at least 3 hours to get ready. From the moment you wake up that morning, try to look, act, speak and be professional.
The day of the Interview
- Shower, shave, clean your fingernails, brush your teeth. Avoid using perfume or aftershave. Also, do not drink alcohol or eat foods with a strong odor. (Garlic, onions etc…) Chew some gum when in route to your interview.
- Double check that you have all necessary documents. Licenses, transcripts, letters of recommendation, note pad, and two (2) pens.
- Take a deep breath and relax. Put on some music you find relaxing. Stay calm and confident. Be in a positive frame of mind. You want to appear self assured, confident and poised.