Most interviewees prep for an interview the night before. It’s understandable – life is busy and things come up. Sometimes, the anxiety over the interview is more than you can stand so thinking about it for days in advance can feel like way too much. However, if you take a few steps to prep, you can alleviate the anxiety and be sure to impress the interviewer. You should make interview prep a regular habit so you just go into automatic mode.
Impressing the Interviewer
Here are some suggestions for your interview prep routine:
When you get the interview, immediately try on your interview attire – suit, coat, shoes, everything.
-Take a good look at your attire in bright light and evaluate. Does it need to be dry cleaned? Did you lose a button during the last interview? Are your shoes scuffed? Does the heel need repair? Did you gain or lose weight and the suit needs tailoring. Get anything that needs to be done taken care of immediately.
Do your research.
This is the part that most people hate, but it is key. Research the company, the interviewer, the position. It’s important to know as much as you possibly can.
To learn about the company: use sites like Vault.com which you can access through Starr Search; read their website, articles in the press, press releases and became familiar with its mission, CEO, and those guiding the company. See if you can meet for informational interviews with anyone you know who is working for or has worked for this company. You should know this company very well and be ready to present what you know about the company in your own words. Prepare like you would for a cumulative final worth the majority of your grade.
Google the interviewer if you know who he/she or they will be. Read about their career paths, how long they have been at the company, their educational paths. You can also check out LinkedIn.com for more information.
Search out through LinkedIn.com other’s who have held this position. The position does not have to be with the company that you are interviewing with although it would be a BONUS. If the person is one of your “contacts” try to set up an informational interview or at least gather their educational path and previous positions. You can even see the responsibilities that they highlight about the position in their profile.
Go over standard interview questions including technical questions
Make sure in the preparation that you are tailor your standard interview questions to the information that you have learned about the organization, interviewer, and position. These should not be stock answers. Obviously, they have to be accurate and true answers about yourself, but hopefully you are a well-rounded person that can share a variety of things about themselves. Tailor your answers to specific circumstance. For example, if you are asked about your strongest skill sets, you should be thinking about the skills that would fit this position, be appealing to the interviewer and demonstrate your knowledge of the organization. You shouldn’t say at every interview: detail orientation, communication and organizational skills. While this might be interesting for some positions, organizations, or interviewers, for others it may be less relevant. Know yourself and have a wide variety of characteristics that you can highlight.
Take basic interview survival things with you.
Have one way to get to the interview and a back up plan in case the train is diverted, there is a closure on your typical road, etc. Carry with you a bottle of water and mints. If it is an all day interview, you may need a snack bar or easy to carry meal replacement to keep your energy up. Make sure to eat when out of the view of interviewers. Have your portfolio with extra copies of your resume and list of references (make sure that you have contacted them in advance for their permission). Always also carry a pen and pad in case you need to take notes at some point during the interview or to jot down notes afterward for the personalized thank you note.
Connect, Connect, Connect.
One of the most vital things you can do is connect with the interviewer. This is the hardest part to teach, but critical to getting the position. According to research, interviewing is not the best way to predict successful performance on the job. However, it remains to be the most popular way to obtain employees. Largely, this is because humans like to be with other humans that are similar or familiar to them. So, it’s important that the interviewer feel like they want to work with you even if they won’t be working with you directly. So at the very least, smile, be engaging, pleasant to be around, and enthusiastic. Don’t be insincere, inappropriate or over the top. This will kill your interview quickly. Be the kind of person that someone else would like to spend 40 hours a week with.
Send the Personalized Thank You Note.
Take notes after the interview of things that clearly appealed to the interviewer (i.e., your fit). Highlight these things in the thank you note as well as how much you enjoyed the interview and are interested in the position. Make sure to send it within 24 hours and it can be sent as an email, just follow it up with the hard copy.
To impress an interviewer, you need to be prepared. Don’t let your anxiety sabotage your success. Let your preparation guide you to success. Start as soon as you get the call about the interview and make it your interview habit.