You’ve been applying for jobs week after week, maybe even for months and now you’ve finally received a call for the interview. You have mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness as you begin to prepare for the big day coming up. We’ve all been there, whether it’s your first, second or even 25th interview. So how do you prepare and ensure you will be on your A-game?
Knowledge About The Company
Research about the company or organization you are applying for. Read about their services, what they do, their history and details on their website, social media and everything else you can. There is no reason not to, especially nowadays with an abundance of information accessible at your finger-tips. There is nothing worse than asking someone to tell me what they know about the company, and right off the bat the candidate has nothing to say other than the industry and company name. It shows a lack of enthusiasm and interest and makes the interviewer feel as though you are unprepared and may not be dedicated.
Key Highlights About Yourself
Have your elevator pitch ready and be able to expand on this. Your education and work history is already on your resume, and it was reviewed during the screening process. Be prepared to expand on why those credentials make you a strong candidate and be confident about it. Tell the interviewer more than what is on your resume, whether it is volunteer experience, extra-curricular activities/hobbies, other related experience, your 5-year goal and anything that can showcase your skills and abilities. I’ve asked candidates to ‘tell me about themselves,’ (which is very vague,) and once I find something interesting I dig. This question is usually where I want a conversation to flow and I also assess if the candidate is getting bored or passionate about the conversation as well as it lets me get to know more about you as a person, not just an employee.
Why Do You Want This Position?
Why are you applying for the position (other than yourself needing an income?) Remember what attracted you to the company or organization when applying and when educating yourself on the prospective employer. Ask yourself what you can do for this company and how the company can benefit you in terms of career-goals, structure, mission and values, where do your needs and wants correlate with the company? If your workplace values are in line with the company’s mission and values, it’s a good sign. If you just want the position because of the attractive salary, that’s not enough, I want someone passionate and driven who will care to show up to work every day to grow themselves and the company.
Wardrobe and Accessories
Not sure what to wear? Keep it professional, neutral and formal. Being overdressed is always better than being underdressed even if you’re unsure about the dress-code. Stay away from big chunky jewelry and overwhelming colours and accessories. Navy blue has been a power-colour for as long as I can remember and pairs nicely with any neutral colours, light and dark. A bright pink or vibrant green shirt or tie can become distracting as well as big shiny accessories which may not be appropriate for the workplace you’re applying for. You want the interviewer to focus on you and what you’re saying, not your outfit. I am guilty of being this candidate in the beginning of my career-search, I have also sat down with candidates and completed interviews where I’ve been completely distracted by their outfits and not meaning to, just flew through the interview only grasping half of the information they told me.
Everyone will prepare for interviews differently, but these few (and sometimes overlooked,) tips do make a difference and can make or break your chances of attaining that position you desire by setting the first impression. Be professional, knowledgeable and know about yourself prior to stepping foot into that interview.
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” –Arthur Ashe