Feeling anxious about your upcoming interview? Don’t spend your time contemplating how it might go. Make sure you are prepared. The following information will allow you to put your best foot forward, and ensure you present your skills and abilities in a meaningful way:
Know your background: One of the things that has always amazed me when I interviewed candidates is how unprepared they were to discuss the information contained on their résumé. If it is referenced on your résumé, you should be prepared to discuss it – no matter how long ago the work was performed. Review your achievements and study your résumé before the interview; make sure you are prepared to discuss what you contributed in your professional roles. Knowing yourself will enable you to adeptly handle any questions regarding your contributions. Additionally, from your review, you will likely remember other things you did. Add these achievements to your arsenal as you prepare to provide the interviewer with really compelling details of your experiences.
Know the company: I don’t just mean that you should do a preliminary search on the website – although that is a good first step. Read some investor relations materials and also gain an understanding of the company’s mission and goals. If they have done something interesting that recently gained press exposure, make sure you are prepared to discuss current events. The more information you have, the better able you will be able to sustain a lively and interesting conversation with your interviewer. In addition, make sure you are aware of the market place competition and the company’s history.
Understand the role: Before going to any interview you should be fully acquainted with the parameters of the position and knowledgeable regarding current compensation levels for similar position titles within the industry. Be prepared to discuss things in your history that are directly connected to the position, including how your experience makes you qualified.
Prepare some questions: You should never leave an interview without asking some questions. Questions demonstrate your level of interest. More importantly though, good questions will help you evaluate the opportunity and gain a clearer understanding regarding a potential fit with your personal and professional goals.
Practice: Since practice does make perfect take the time to prepare for the interview. You might practice with a friend or conduct a mock interview with a coach. The practice will enable you to discuss your background and reveal highlights of your achievements in a succinct manner. Make sure you rehearse your answers to difficult or tricky questions so you are not caught off guard. It is ok to pause before answering questions presented by the interviewer to ensure that your answer is thoughtful.
Logistics: Make sure you bring several copies of your résumé on bond paper, know the name of the person with whom you will be interviewing, and the address and floor number of the company. Avoid lateness by leaving early to prevent unexpected delays. Have your interview attire (suit) ready to go the night before.
A few simple steps will ensure that you are calm and relaxed for your interview, and of course, ready to shine. Good luck!
Comments and feedback are requested and desired; and you are welcome and encouraged to submit questions to thecareerdoctor.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and Chief Career Strategist of CareersDoneWrite, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.