Prepare for Your Face to Face Interview
Last month, we shared how to nail your next job interview. Well, great news! After careful screening, your dream employer has picked you for a face to face! Undoubtedly you’ve done a few victory laps and high-fived your dog. Then the fear sets in. How do you prepare for the big day?
Job interviews can be stressful, especially if you’re working full time. You may even have a family and we all have commitments. It’s hard to drop everything for “potential” career advancement. That being said, here are the:
Top 10 Tips to Prepare for Your Face to Face Interview:
- Verify the time, phone number and address if applicable. Map out the location if this is an in-person interview and be sure to plan for time of day, traffic, parking or any surprises that might come up.
- Print a few extra copies of your resume on professional paper and keep them handy in a portfolio with a copy of up to date reference letters. Keep your papers, keys and cell phone neatly organized in a portfolio. I love these portfolios from Jeff Handcraft on etsy.com: For Gentlemen, here is a much less feminine version from MontBlanc:
- Update your professional social media sites like LinkedIn, Branchout, Identified and any other sites that are searchable online. HR and internal sources may be scoping you before the big day and it’s best to appear streamlined and professional. Another tip for online professionalism: search engine spiders crawl content once every 30 days. Do a search of your name and remove any unwanted content. (If you have a personal Facebook account that is showing information you would not want to share with a recruiter, change your privacy settings.) 30 days later, you should be in the clear when you search your name.
- Practice your greetings and your tough Q/A in the mirror. Yes, seriously. (Preferably when nobody is looking.) It’s easy to pick up on emotion—even over the phone—and positive energy always takes the cake. Smile and remain upbeat and comfortable when answering any questions about gaps in your resume.
- Role-play the tough questions with a friend or family member ahead of time. If you’ve been laid off or there is a gap in your resume you should be prepared to answer with confidence and remain even-keeled. Your future employer may even try to lay some trick questions out for you. Hopefully you can focus on positive and creative ways you have made the most of this opportunity, like education or industry related volunteer work.
- NEVER EVER talk poorly about a previous boss or colleague. Never. Ever. It’s a smaller world than you think and you could be talking to your former boss’s neighbor’s uncle. Just please don’t do it.
- Research the company and industry trends. You definitely need to know the position you have applied for inside and out and be able to speak eloquently about your qualifications for the role, to prove yourself a viable candidate. In addition to this, you should be able to engage the interviewers in conversation about the industry, top trends and any relevant news if applicable.
- Create a problem that you are a solution to, i.e., problem-solve. For example, you’ve discovered your new company has recently taken an interest in non-profit and opened up a fund… highlight your volunteer time or your last company’s donations to ___ and how you participated by ___.
- I have a magnet on my fridge that my husband may tease me for, but I believe in it whole-heartedly: “Good Clothes Open All Doors.” Before you open your mouth, like it or not people are looking at you and when it comes to a job interview you need to look professional. Every businessman and woman should own at least one suit and coordinating shirt with appropriate shoes and a case or portfolio. After these purchases are made, simply keep them clean, pressed and ready to go. Take accessories into consideration during an interview like flashy watches, bangle bracelets or large earrings. Flashy accessories can pose a distraction while you are explaining your professional leaps and bounds.
- On the big day, remember to exercise professionalism from the time you enter the building until the time you exit. Greet the doorman/woman, hold doors open. Smile. Turn OFF your cell phone. Yes, even in the lobby. Chances are the Administrative Assistant is taking notes and his or her opinion may be the first one that management will consider.