You sent in your resume and you got the call. They want to interview you for the job!
Here's how not to get ready for the interview: Wait until the morning of the interview, put on your best suit and walk in the door. No, you still have a lot to do. With the right preparation, you can increase your odds of getting the job significantly. Just looking like you invested time in getting ready can put you ahead of many competitors.
These tips and tricks for preparing for a job interview are ones I've developed for myself over many years. Including lessons learned from my own job interview mistakes. These tips work whether the interview is in person, on the phone or in Second Life. I've used them to prep for interviews for full-time jobs, part-time jobs, temp jobs and consulting gigs.
What's more, you should take this prep work equally seriously whether this is your dream job, or a just-to-pay-the-bills job.
First up, some important things to know before you walk in the door:
The person doing the interviews may not have read your resume. Someone read it, but that might have been in another department. Heck, it might have been a machine. Or the interviewer might have already forgotten the most important details. You need to be prepared to summarize the key facts in your work history that make you the best candidate for the job.
The interviewer may not be very good at interviewing. Yes, this has happened to me more than once. Your interviewer might be very good at his or her job, but interviewing is a skill that most hiring managers are never properly trained to do. You need to be prepared to present yourself and your skills effectively even if the interview questions are lame.
What are you going to take with you to the interview?
- At least two fresh copies of your resume (in case you need to leave one behind)
- A clean notepad and a couple of blue or black ink pens
- Your questions for the interviewer (more on that in the next post)
Dress in appropriate business clothes. Not jeans, not that little black number you wear clubbing. Business clothes. If you're not sure what that means, ask a friend.
Do you know how to get there and how long it will take you at the interview time? Whether you're driving, getting a lift or taking public transit, plan it out ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time. I'll never forget the job interview I was half an hour late for when I underestimated rush hour traffic. They, on the other hand, forgot me quickly.
I often look up the nearest coffee shop to my interview location, in case all goes well and I get there too early. But order something without caffeine - you don't need to add to your jitters before the interview.
Finally, turn off your cell phone, or at least set it to silent. Do not answer your phone or check messages during the interview! You don't even want it to go off and interrupt your conversation. Imagine if your ring tone just happens to be a song your potential new boss hates. What if it's the very song that was playing on the radio when she found out her husband was cheating on her? That could really kill the vibe.
In part 2, I'll give you my tried-and-true tips for how to prepare for what you'll actually say in the interview.
Have any good job interview prep tips to offer? Add them in the comments below.
Cartoon by Christophe Bauwens