There are many times in your life when you can fly by the seat of your pants. An interview is not one of them. In order to get an edge on your competition (aka, fellow interviewees), you need to take some time to research, plan, and strategize. Follow these tips to ensure that you walk into the interview room feeling confident and well-prepared!
Learn about the company online. Google is your friend; there is a wealth of information at your fingertips. Take some time to not only peruse the company website, but also do a few web searches for the company name to scope out the latest news and events. This will give you a larger picture about the company. During this time, also prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask during the interview (remember, you’re interviewing them as well!).
Review logistics. Double check the interview time and location. Determine your driving route and estimate the time it will take you to get there while allowing for extra time. Confirm who you will be meeting with and, if you are working with a recruiter, ask for basic information about this person and tips for connecting with him/her. If you don’t already have a job description, ask for one.
Think of some stories. Anticipate some of the interview questions you may be asked and think about stories that you can share to illustrate your achievements and skills. When possible, quantify what you’ve done – i.e., increased sales by X percent, saved the company $X, or decreased order-processing time by X minutes.
Determine what you will wear. Set out what you will wear the day before the interview. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask about the company dress code. If in doubt, err on the conservative side. While you don’t want to be overdressed, you certainly don’t want to be underdressed.
Practice! Look in the mirror and practice answering common interview questions. Better yet, do some mock interviews with a friend. Nail down answers to questions like, “tell me about yourself,” “why are you interested in this position/company,” and “what are your strengths/weaknesses.”
Now that you’ve taken the time to prepare, take a deep breath and try to relax! Walk confidently into the interview knowing that this company would be lucky to have you as an employee.