What you do before an interview is important. Just as you customized and reviewed your resume and cover letter before applying for the job, preparing and practicing prior to your interview will help you make a positive impression on the employer. Here are ways you can prepare and practice for your interview.
Do Your Research
Take the time to learn about the company or company you applied to and the people who might be interviewing you. See if you can identify the type of interview you are going to attend. If you have a contact who works for the employer, see if you are able to meet with him/her for an information interview. Try to identify what they’re looking for in a candidate, the purpose of the position, their target population, their goals, mission, values, needs, etc. If you are able to identify the people who you will be interviewing with, write down their names and research who these people are, their roles, background, and interests. Often times, you can find this information on the company’s website, LinkedIn, Google, etc. Be able to explain why you are interested in working for them and incorporate what you have learned about the company in your responses.
Review Your Resume
Job seekers often forget about their resume once they submit a job application. Be prepared to discuss experiences and projects that you listed on your resume. Your resume should already be tailored to reflect that job description.
Review the Job Description
Brainstorm Possible Questions
Read the newspaper, check the internet, read articles related to the company's industry. You may be surprised with ice breaking small talk about current trends and/or events.
Notify Your References
If you haven't done so recently, you will want to inform your references that you have been offered an interview for a job and they might receive a call or email from the prospective employer. Let your references know who might be calling them, what job you are applying to, a copy of the job description, and any points you want them to stress in their recommendation of you.
It is important to think about your safety and protecting yourself during the interview process. Trust your instincts and if you feel uncomfortable, express your thoughts or find a reason to leave. Never feel obligated. Avoid the risk and think safety with our information on Interview Safety and Employer Scams.
Bring these Items
Bring your state issued driver's license/ID, extra copies of your resume, your portfolio (if you have one), a notepad with some questions prepared for the interview as well as if you need to take any quick notes, a pen, your list of references, notes with talking points or examples of your experiences, any materials requested by the employer, and a positive attitude. Make sure you have cash (dollars, coins and card) to pay for parking. Depending on where you park, you may only have access to using one form of payment. It is also important to bring the contact information of the person interviewing you and/or the main office information and the address/directions of where you are going.
Know Where You are Going
Ideally, you want to know where you are going before the day of your interview. Drive
by the location of your interview before the day of your interview. Identify places
to park. If
possible visit the location of your interview during the same time of day so you can see what the traffic is like. Do not be late to your interview.
Always give yourself extra time. You don’t want to be late because of unexpected traffic, street closures and/or traffic accidents. Plan to arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes early to give yourself a buffer and to use the restroom. Arriving early will allow you some time to remove animal hair, shoulder flakes, check for static, wash clammy hands, etc. Consider checking in only 5 to 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. Leave your coffee or soda in the car.