Getting ready for an interview is often the most stressful part of the hiring process. Many job seekers do not take the time to properly prepare for an interview. This can lead to more than a bad answer to an interview question. Not taking the time to prepare can make you late, nervous and less likely to land the job.
Preparing for an interview is as simple as following a few common sense guidelines:
1. Where are you going: Be sure to do a dry run to the interview location. Whenever possible make the dry run during the same time of day as the scheduled interview, or make sure your GPS is working the day before you program it–just in case. This will allow you to easily locate the office without worrying about traffic or detours.
2. What are you bringing: Carefully review any guidelines set forth by the hiring manager. Bring extra copies of your resume, your portfolio (if applicable), a list of references and anything else requested. Prepare these items in advance to prevent forgetting items. It is also a good idea to keep clean copies of your resume in your car in case of an emergency.
3. What are you wearing: Try on each item that you will be wearing to the interview. Insure the clothing fits properly, is clean, pressed and damage free. Don’t forget to check socks and shoes.
4. Grooming: If your hair, mustache or beard needs trimming take care of it several days before the interview. Leaving this to the last minute can cause delays.
5. Phones: OFF! Consider yourself out of the running if your phone goes off during the interview… really out of it if your ring tone is “Baby Got Back”. Be smart and turn your phone off during your interview.
6. Questions: It is a mistake to assume that the only person asking question is the hiring manager. Instead, carefully craft a list of 2 to 5 questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should be thought provoking and demonstrate your knowledge of the company, its product or service and website.
7. Answers: Many interviews begin with the same questions: What do you hope to do? What are your goals? What is your greatest strength/weakness? Where do you see yourself in 5 years. Put some time and effort into thinking about these questions and prepare your answers in advance.
8. Eat, Sleep, Relax: Neglecting your health by failing to eat or sleep properly before your resume is a mistake. Try to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. The more relaxed you are, the better the interview will go.
Other common sense suggestions include researching the hiring manager, contacting your references and bringing along a pen and paper for notes. Preparing for an interview doesn’t take much time, but it can have a big impact on your day.