Try these steps to make this important day a success
It is great news when you get a job interview. It means you’ve made it past the first round of cuts, and that the employer wants to know more about you. The interview is the employer’s chance to see if you are a good fit for the position, and it’s also your chance to see if the job is right for you.
Here are some tips on getting prepared for the interview. Try to give yourself a few days for this preparation.
1. Research the employer. Read the company’s website. Look for reviews posted by people who have worked there. Search Google News for any press that may have been written about the organization. Read their annual report if you can find it. The more you know about the company, the better sense you will have of them as an employer.
2. Make a list of questions to ask the employer. Most interviewers will give you a chance to ask questions. This is your opportunity to find out what the job will be like. Bring at least 10 questions, ranging from questions about the job position to questions about the company as a whole. If you don’t bring any questions, the interviewer may think that you are not prepared or that you don’t care about the job. For sample questions, see Questions to Ask at a Job Interview.
3. Do a mock interview. If you go to a career school that offers Career Placement Services, set up an appointment for a mock interview. By having a Career Placement representative do a sample interview with you, you can practice how you want to market yourself during the real interview. You can also ask a friend or family member to help you with this, if you do not have school or college resources available.
4. Ask your friends and colleagues what they know about the employer. Find out if you know anyone who has ever worked at the employer. Look at your LinkedIn profile, and see if you have any connections with people at the company. There may be someone who could put in a good word for you. Or one of your contacts may have good advice about the company’s culture or how to present yourself at the interview.
5. Print out your resume and references. Even though you have already sent in your resume and references, bring a few copies to the interview. If you have a business card, bring that too. You may not need them, but it’s good to be prepared just in case you are asked.
6. Plan out your clothes and what you are taking. Select the clothing you will be wearing, as well as a portfolio or notebook that you will bring. It’s easier to have these things picked out the day before, so that you have less stress on the actual day of the interview. For advice on what to wear, see Three Tips on What to Wear to an Interview for Women (and similar tips for men).
7. Plan out your route. One of the first rules of a job interview is to get there 5 to 10 minutes early. You do not want to start out the interview poorly by arriving late. For this reason, it’s a good idea to plan out your route ahead of time. If you have time, you might even want to do a “dry run” of the trip to make sure you know how to get there. If the organization is a large complex with many entrances, be sure to ask the Human Resources representative what door to use. Then on the day itself, give yourself extra travel time in case of traffic.
With these preparation tips in mind, your interview day should be less stressful. Planning ahead is a great way to reduce your stress. You will still have the pressure of the interview, but you won’t have to worry about what to wear, how to get there, and what to ask. Here’s wishing you the best of luck!