Prepping for the Big Interview

Sweaty palms, nervous ticks, a barrage of thoughts running through your mind… all typical ingredients of a big interview!  We know, sounds dreadful, doesn’t it?  It doesn’t have to be!  Sure, there is a lot of pressure when interviewing for a job, especially if it happens to be your dream job. However, there are several steps you can take to make sure you are as prepared as possible.  Try to bring that stress level down, and follow our guidelines listed below to help ensure that you have a successful interview.

Knowledge is power: The key to a successful interview is knowing everything there is to know about the organization and the position you are applying for. The world-wide web is at your fingertips, so start digging. After all, how can you interview for a company you know nothing about? Start by thoroughly reviewing the company’s website, but don’t just stop here. Google the organization you are interviewing with to see additional information that might be beneficial for you to know. This might include press releases, blogs, and news statements regarding the company. The goal is to know exactly what the organization is about and the direction they are going.

Map out your directions: We all get lost sometimes, but you never want to be lost on your way to an interview. Make sure to Map Quest your route to ensure that you make it to the interview on time. Also, be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get there in case you happen to run into a hiccup (i.e. traffic jam, bad weather, etc.). If you do happen to arrive at your interview early, make sure to sit and wait until about 10 – 15 minutes prior to the interview to check in.

Dress for success: Business professional attire is a must for all interviews. First impressions are crucial, so make sure you look the part. A business suit is preferred, but as long as you stay in the lines of business professional dress, you should be golden. Make sure to have your outfit cleaned, ironed and laid out prior to your big interview.

Practice makes perfect: Always practice interview questions prior to going on an interview. It’s vital to do a run-through of the standard interview questions to ensure that you have prepared responses (please note that we said prepared and not scripted). Stuttering in an interview is never a good thing. By practicing, you will be sure to sound poised and prepared. Have a friend or mentor conduct a faux interview with you so it feels like an actual interview. Then, get their honest feedback on how you performed. You will find that it’s a lot more difficult to actually say a response rather than just think it. Remember, when answering interview questions, be sure to draw from a variety of experiences that are recent and relevant to the job you are applying for. You can find an abundance of sample interview questions online!

Things to have handy: It’s never a good thing to walk into a company empty handed; and by that we mean without the necessary materials you should always have in an interview. Those materials include a pen, portfolio with paper to take notes, a handful of resumes to distribute, questions to ask your future employer and any other required materials that were requested of you by the company.

Ask the right questions: When interviewing, it’s just as important to interview the company just as much as they are interviewing you, so be sure to be prepared with questions. Ask questions that are vital for your future success (i.e. future growth opportunities, quota expectations, attrition rates, culture and salary expectations). Organizations appreciate your interest in the position and company, so ask away. Just make sure that your questions are appropriate and professional.

Follow Up: It’s always important to follow up after an interview, so make sure to have plenty of thank-you cards on hand to be able to send once you’ve finished the interview.

The right preparation can help give you a world of confidence when interviewing, and confidence is what helps you to land the job. So don’t cut corners my fellow job seekers, and always do your homework before an interview. You don’t want to hurt your chances of landing a great job now, do you?

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