So you have landed that amazing interview…good for you! Even though it might seem as though it has been a laborious process just to get the interview, the prep is far from over! Appropriate interview preparation can be the difference between getting the job….and getting back to sending out those resumes. So, what do you need to do to impress the interviewer?
Here are some interview tips on steps you can take to help ace that interview…before you even walk in the door!
1. Research, Research, Research
Find out as much as you can about the company before you go in, so you have good questions ready. This entails more than just stopping at their website…though of course, that should be stop No. 1, if it wasn’t before you even applied!
Visit the tab that says “press room” and read the news coverage and press releases. That gives you a great idea of the initiatives that are important to them.
Google the company…duh. But don’t just take the first page of results. Click on the “news” button to read any news stories that have been published recently. These might be the same — but they might be different if they are not 100% positive! — from those that are on the company’s website. It’s important to have a full picture.
Google your interviewer and see what comes up. Check out their LinkedIn profile and their Twitter. You don’t want to come across as stalker-ish but it’s great to have a little background knowledge that might come in handy.
LinkedIn in particular can be a gold mine. Maybe they went to the same college or worked at a company you have before. And definitely check out their connections; who knows…you might have some in common! On that note, search LinkedIn to find if you have any connections in common at the entire company, or know someone who knows someone.
2. Confirm with Them Two Days Before the Interview
Correspond with whomever scheduled the interview; whether this is the interviewer him/herself or an assistant. Keep it brief: “I am looking forward to meeting you date/time/place to discuss the position and your company in more detail.” This gives them the opportunity to correct any logistics you might have wrong and also underscores your interest.
3. Do a Trial Run
Try on the outfit you are going to wear to make sure that all the pieces are clean. (I once realized that the skirt I wanted to wear was at the dry cleaners….and had been there about six months which is why I assumed it was hanging in my closet. Planning ahead meant that I realized I had to run get it!)
Drive to the interview location to make sure you know exactly where it is, and assess the parking situation. Try to drive there at the time you will actually be having the interview so you can assess traffic, even though traffic patterns may vary.
If you are taking public transit, this is even more important to make sure you have the correct schedule and stop.
4. Catch Up on News the Day of
Make sure you know what’s going on in the world in case it comes up in small talk – or you need a topic for small talk! Did the interviewer’s Twitter profile reveal he is a mad Giants fan? Find out if they beat the Dodgers last night. Was there some breaking news in the industry? Have at least a general knowledge of the basics.
5. Leave for the Interview with Ample Time
And I mean ample. If you get there early, you can read the paper, peruse your notes or otherwise kill time, but if you get there late you will feel harried and anxious. But the trick is not to arrive in the interviewer’s office too early. Just hang in the parking lot. Being there 10 minutes early is fine; more than that and it can be annoying to the assistant who may feel she has to “entertain” you or the interviewer who might feel rushed.
6. Be Polite to EVERYONE You See
But you knew that already….we’ve all heard that an interviewer may well check with the receptionist to see what you were like. But, a potential contact can be made from the minute you park your car or get off the bus. Maybe the person you’re riding up the elevator with IS the interviewer, just coming back from lunch. Or his or her superior. A friendly greeting and smile can only put you in a positive light.
7. Watch Your Waiting Game
After you’ve greeted the receptionist, wait where suggested. Don’t pace. Don’t fumble around in your bag. Don’t text madly. Just…sit. Relax. Peruse one of the magazines on the table or something you have brought to read. Review your notes, but don’t make yourself crazy. And don’t be so absorbed in what you’re doing that you have to awkwardly fumble and leap up when your interviewer comes out. Smoothly set the magazine back on the table; stand up; extend your hand and…it’s time to shine!
by Cathie Ericson