Preparing for an interview is an essential step in getting your next job. In order to get that job, you’ll need a solid understanding of the company you’re meeting with, their goals and a whole lot about yourself. Here are some tips to help you get prepared to walk out with a job offer.
Know your customer!
Most companies have websites and a social media presence. Go and investigate them. Check them out on GlassDoor.com and see if you can find reviews from current or former employees. Know the business goals, mission statement and vision of a company can get you a lot further than a mumbled, ‘I hear you pay well.’
Know thyself, above all else.
‘Know thyself’ is a solid piece of wisdom dating back to the Greeks and, perhaps, the Egyptians. Why? Because it is absolutely necessary to know what you like, dislike and are capable of doing. If you can understand yourself well enough, this process will help you understand if the company that you’re interviewing with is a good match…or the next place you ‘used to work.’
Prepare to look sharp.
I always go with Business casual. In one interview, I wore a tailored suit and we spent more time talking about the suit than the job…which I didn’t get btw. The key is here is to fit in. You can figure out the proper attire from the job requisition and the current industry standard. Tailored clothing is great, if it’s applicable.
Make sure to eat right, groom properly and ensure hygiene standards.
Here are some basics pointers on that count:
- Eat a decent meal and don’t overload on caffeine.
- Guys: Shave those faces or at least trim your face hair to keep it looking clean.
- Gals: Don’t overdo the makeup!
- Everyone: Go light on perfume/cologne.
- Make sure to iron your clothes, polish your shoes and generally look natty.
Prepare for your questions.
Whether you are facing a structured interview or not, you really need to prepare for the questions you’ll be facing….and the ones you shouldn’t be facing. It’s a sure bet that some questions will be about the job, but others will be about soft skills like communication. (In fact, I’ve had a communication question in every interview I’ve participated in.) There are dozens of sites for how to respond to STAR interview questions (like this one) and you can essentially guess a few other questions: Diversity is a good one to bet on, as is Safety, for most large corporations. Also, you should never be asked about your religion, race, gender, age or any other protected class.
Prepare your portfolio.
Take your best writing samples and print them out on nice paper. Business projects with any analysis or advertising make for great examples of your work. Add in letters of recommendation and you’ve got a nice living document. And, yes, all of this can be done on Social Media very easily: Linkedin, Facebook Blog Sites or your own web site are all good choices for your portfolio…you can even add the url to your resume!
Ok, now you have some great pointers to start your preparation to get your next job. The only key that you must remember: Plan to succeed! Planning ahead for your interview will give you the best chance for nailing it and getting the job.