Interviews can be painstaking and quite stressful if you are not adequately prepared and ready for them. We at EARL understand just how stressful it can be and how much you want to impress your interviewers. The following tips and preparation methods should help minimize that stress and ensure that you have a seamless interview!
- Location, Location, Location!
There is a difference between knowing where your interview will be held and knowing how to get there! Before your interview date, try to find out exactly where the interview is taking place.
Some companies have multiple branches, so ask yourself the following questions: At which branch will the interview be held? Does the location have several buildings (i.e. is it an estate or complex?)? If so, which one is the correct one for your interview?
You should also note how long it takes to get to your destination. Always take into consideration the length of time it takes to get there. Consider all possible conditions and expect the worst on the day of your interview. This way you can budget your time appropriately. Always aim to arrive early!
- Know Yourself!
Be able to answer questions about yourself. Anticipate what an interviewer may want to know about you and have “prepared” responses. Know what you are looking for in a job and figure out why you think you are the best fit for the job you are being interviewed for. This will help guide your responses in the interview and also helps you market yourself as the “Best Fit” to the interviewer.
Questions you can ask yourself are: Why do I want this job? What are my career goals? What do I want to do in 5 years? What are the details of the job description and how do I fit in with the requirements of the job?
Review the information on your resume in detail. Can you discuss everything that is there? You should be able to explain gaps in the timeline of your resume and answer any question that may be asked about it.
Consider all non-job-related information about you. Ask yourself the following questions: What challenges have I encountered and overcome that I can use to my benefit in an interview? What type of volunteer work or social contributions have I made that can give my interviewer a better idea of my character? What accomplishments or achievements can I relate to them? Never underestimate this type of information and the impact it can have on your interviewer.
- Conduct Extensive Research!
The more you know about the company you wish to work for, the less likely you are to fumble in an interview. Interviewers may ask you questions about their organization to derive how much you interest you truly have in working for them. If you demonstrate a sound knowledge of their company it shows you have a genuine interest and may win you valuable points!
Know the industry in which the company operates. Read trade publications and retail news to find out what has happened in the industry in the past; i.e. growth trends, economics, political influences, social influences, reputation issues and any other information you can find. This allows you to answer any strategic questions they may ask you and can further help you demonstrate your ability to make a positive contribution to the organization.
- Know the Type/Style of Interview
Is the interview going to be a group, single, or panel interview? How many interviewers and interviewees are going to be in the room at one time? Find out as much as you can about the interview so that you can adequately prepare.
Always be aware that the type of questions and type of responses can greatly vary depending on the type of interview it is. The more you know, the better you can prepare for the potential questions.
- Prepare Your Own Questions!
Interviewers almost always ask if there is anything you’d like to ask. Having nothing to ask can look as if you are not genuinely interested in the job. You want to show as much interest in the job and the business as possible.
After you have conducted your research figure out what you may want to ask your interviewers. Some questions you can ask are: “What are some of the recent successes of the business?” “What would you say are areas for development in the organization?” “How do you plan on dealing with these shortcomings?” “What are the opportunities for training and development here?” “What are your intentions for this position?”
- Pre-write Thank you notes!
Even though you may have sufficient time after the interview date to write a thank you note, it is better to prepare one beforehand. This way you can personally hand deliver your thank you note immediately after the interview.
Preparing the note beforehand also ensures that what you send in your note is not skewed by your personal opinion of the interview.
- Avoid Unnecessary Negatives!
Interviews can be harsh exercises and leaving a negative impression can be easier than you think. Fortunately these negatives are small and quite easy to avoid!
- Turn off your cell phone– it can be very distracting to both you and your interviewer if your cell phone rings during your interview. Distractions can break your trend of thought and can make your interviewer potentially miss one of the most important things you may have to say!
- Print an extra copy of your resume – you should be able to freely hand out your resume to your interviewer if requested. If you have multiple interviews in one day, you should have a sufficient number of resumes to give to all your interviewers.
- Get Sleep – Ensure that you are well rested and would have gone to bed early the night before. Coming to an interview tired can affect your thought process, appearance and response time. Interviews are already stressful; you don’t want to add tiredness on top of that!
- Stay Calm – Your nerves can get the better of you several times before your interview. Try to remain as calm as possible – figure out ways and techniques that help calm you down so you can be ready and confident on the day of the interview.
- Practice good hygiene – Staying neat, clean and fresh should be understood, however, an even greater effort should be placed on your personal hygiene when you are going for an interview. Ensure that your clothes are not wrinkled, stained, dirty or smelly and that you are clean and well kept. This leaves a good impression on your interviewer and lets them know that they can be confident in your ability to dress and act professionally. Check out the section “How to Dress for an Interview” for more tips and tricks!
These are some of the major ways you can prepare for your interview. Practicing and using these tips should help you get at least one step further to landing your dream job!
Check out the following links for even more information on preparing for a job interview: