Preparing for an interview in advance gives you a boost in confidence and increases your chances of getting the job you deserve. Preparing for an important interview starts before you send out the first resume.
One piece of information that job seekers often overlook is that background checks have become a standard part of the hiring process for most companies. Before you start your job search, run a background check on yourself. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, it is easy to be caught unprepared if an employer brings up something from your background.
By running a background check on yourself, you will have the capability to handle any questions about your history. If there is a gap in your employment or a sudden drop in your credit score, be prepared to explain what caused those things.
Once you know what is on your background check, you can start sending out resumes and working your contacts to land an interview for your dream job. If you have an interview for an important job, the following steps will give you the confidence to know you gave it your best shot.
1) Research the company and the job, well. Look the company up on sites like Glassdoor to read what employees say about the company. Know precisely what the job is, and identify the ways that you are a good fit for the qualities the employer is seeking.
2) Think about your previous work, education, and life experience and identify which skills relate to the position you will be interviewing for. It is common for interviewers to ask questions similar to “what previous experience do you think will most prepare you for this job?”
Do not be afraid to think outside the box. If the job requires the ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment and you are a mom with three kids who coaches soccer, that is a skill you can use. When speaking about experiences that have honed your skills, it does not have to work experience. Life experiences are often our greatest teachers.
3) Have a friend or family member do a practice interview with you. You can find different sources of common interview questions. Practice your answers, and you will feel more comfortable and confident about the real interview.
4) Have questions of your own. Asking insightful, well researched, and practical questions during the interview can say as much about you as your answers. Some examples of positive questions would be:
-“Do you offer continuing education opportunities?”
-“How is success measured in this position?”
-“What is your favorite part of working for XYZ?”
5) Dress in appropriate business attire. You do not want to draw attention to your appearance other than leaving an impression of being neat and appropriate. Even in a casual workplace, business casual should still be your interview attire.
6) Make sure your cell phone is turned off, and bring extra copies of your resume, a list of references, and a notepad and pen to write down important information.
7) Greet everyone warmly and with enthusiasm. You would be surprised how many hiring managers will ask a receptionist’ input on how you treated them, and for their impression of you.
8) Remain conscious of your body language throughout the interview. You want to appear interested, engaged, and confident. Slouching, wringing your hands, or staring off into the distance can all be nervous mannerisms that send the wrong message.
9) Follow-up the interview with a thank-you note. Sending such a note via mail or email allows you to thank the person for their time, reiterate your interest in the job, and include any questions or information not included in the interview.