III. Prepare for the interview.
a. Learn about the company.
Just about every decent company has its own Web site. There is no excuse for not at the very least visiting the site to learn about the company. What do they do? Where do they stand among their competitors? Do they have a mission statement? The more you know, the more professional you will appear. Don’t show off. Just be prepared and the opportunity will arise to demonstrate your knowledge.
b. Learn about the interviewer.
If you can find out who’s going to be interviewing you, learn a little about them. This is less important if it’s someone from human resources. Don’t come across like a stalker, but if you expect to meet with a potential supervisor or “the boss,” at least Google them. If they’ve written something, read it. Be prepared to talk about their work and, as Dale Carnegie would advise, let them do most of the talking.
c. Be prepared for tough questions.
What is your greatest weakness? Why should I hire you? What kind of salary are you looking for? What would you consider to be a successful career? What do you want out of this job? Why do you want to work for us? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Be prepared to answer these and other questions. For a list, check out 50 Tough Interview Questions at the University of Nebraska – Omaha or Ten Tough Interview Questions and Ten Great Answers at collegegrad.com. Bottom line? Take a good, honest look at yourself before the interview.
d. Remember, you are interviewing the employer too.
Don’t get cocky, but what questions do you want answered? Benefits? Working conditions? What’s a typical day like in this job at this company? Observe everything while you’re there. Does the interviewer seem competent? Are your potential colleagues people you’d feel comfortable working with? Basically, does this seem like a good fit? The “right” position is more than just salary, title and job description. It’s where you will be living a good part of your life for at least the next six months and as long as the rest of your life. The interview gives you an opportunity to help decide whether or not you will accept the position if it’s offered.
e. Get comfortable with your surroundings.
Do a “dry run” to wherever the interview will take place. Drive or walk by the building. If you’re on unfamiliar turf, check out maps and plan your route. Check out the weather for the next day. Be sure to estimate traffic and other considerations, such as rush hour. Do you want to pick a “staging area” close by the interview location where you can relax and regroup before the interview?
f. On the eve of the interview.
Lay out your clothes and other material (briefcase, portfolio, extra copies of your resume, etc.) the night before. The less you have to worry about, the easier things will be on the day of the interview. Read over your research. Rehearse answers to some of the tougher questions you anticipate. Set your alarm and a wake-up call.
An interview is a kind of test, and the best thing you can do is get plenty of sleep the night before. You need to be able to listen and respond alertly and intelligently. That will be a lot easier with a good night’s sleep.
Want more? Check out some of the good YouTube videos, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCQdloL8HV0