Congratulations! You worked really hard on your resume, researched the job opening, submitted your resume for consideration and now you have been contacted for an interview. For some, this is where the panic sets in as they suddenly realize that they have a shot at landing the position. Preparing for an interview is not really that hard to do, but you must be prepared. Here are some tips to help you out.
Research, research and more research – I cannot stress this enough. While you are interviewing, the company representative will ask you what you know about the company and/or why you feel you would fit with the company culture. If you do not research the company, you will not be able to answer these questions. If you can’t answer these questions, it is very likely that the interview will be over. This research is also important in order for you to be able to ask questions. Remember, you are interviewing the company as well. Make sure that your research will allow you to ask intelligent questions regarding the company, culture and direction. The interview is not the place to ask “How much will you pay me?” Two great sources for information on a company include:
- The company website. Review any and all documents that they have available. For example, if you are interviewing for a technical position and the company has drawings or schematics online, review them. Know them inside out, if possible.
- Contact someone you know in the company or reach out to someone who works in the company to learn about the company culture.
Review sample interview questions online. Make sure that you are reviewing all types of questions. Behavioral and situational based are the most common. Ask yourself the question and then answer it, or have a friend or family member ask the questions and you answer. This preparation will allow you to work through the steps in answering the questions. Behavioural and situational interviews will look at a minimum of three things; the issue, the steps to resolution and the outcome. In some cases, the interviewer may ask you if you would do anything differently.
Drive to the office the day before, preferably at the same time as the interview so that you know how long it will take you to get there. This will help to ensure that you arrive on time.
Be prepared to present your qualified business references to the interviewer. Qualified means that you have spoken with them and received permission to include them in your reference list. They should be a previous supervisor or manager. In most instances, co-workers are not acceptable.
Lastly, you must ensure that you have the appropriate clothes to wear. My suggestion to all job searchers is to dress one level above what the dress code is in the office. It is important to stand out for the right reasons. All too many great job searchers loose the opportunity to land a great job because they ended up underdressed for the interview. If you are unsure of what the dress code is for the company, you may want to call the receptionist and ask him or her.
Do you have any additional hints for preparing for an interview?