Congratulations! You landed an interview…now what? You have already made it farther than some of the other prospects. Your potential employer saw something on your resume that sparked their interest and now wants to meet you face to face. Don’t freak! Here’s how to prepare.
1. Private Investigator
Google is about to become your new BFF. You need to find out anything and everything you can on the company that you are interviewing for. When you’re finished researching the company, you should feel like an FBI Agent because you’ll know so much. First, visit the company website. Navigate your way through the page so you are familiar with it. Figure out when the company was established and their major accomplishments. You’ll also want to know what products and services they sell or provide to the public and how many locations the company has. Next, figure out who the employees are and their job titles. Most companies have that information listed on their websites along with pictures so you can see who you might be interviewing with. No employee pictures on the website? If you know who the person you are interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn so you know what they look like and become familiar with their professional background. Trust me, you’re not being creepy, you are doing your research! People have social media for a reason, use it to your advantage. The interviewer will be impressed that you know about their professional past. It might spark questions for you to ask them about their professional journey and how they ended up with the company you are interviewing for. Then start following the companies you are interviewing for on social media. You’ll want to see how the company interacts with their audience, and they might provide information not listed on their website.
Really, appearance shouldn’t matter because it’s about your skills and talents you will be bringing to the company, but appearance actually DOES matter. Think of it this way, you are basically going on a first date with your interviewer. You’ll want to take time in looking presentable, you don’t want to look like a slob. Why? Because then you’ll never get asked out on second date! Your appearance will let your employer know how you represent yourself in public. Employers do not want to hire someone who dresses like a slob every day, because that will be a reflection of their company. I’m not saying you can never wear your sweatpants, outside of work I am always hanging out in sweats. However, in a professional setting you want to take pride in how others will perceive you. If you are traveling for an interview wear dark colors. I once had to travel to Cleveland to do a presentation for work. On the way, I spilt coffee all over my pants. Worst day ever, right? Well it would have been, except I had on navy pants so you couldn’t even notice. Which brings me to my second point, if you are traveling for an interview, bring back up clothes and shoes! It’s better to be prepared then to be in a situation where you are not. The night before your interview, make sure that you have your outfit already picked out and ironed so you are ready to go in the morning. I am usually very picky when it comes to my outfits, so I always have a backup, just in case. You want to feel confident in what you are wearing during the interview, because if you’re not it will show. Don’t be afraid to wear color! Many people like to “play it safe” when going in to an interview by wearing black or white. You want to show your personality off through your outfit, yet still remain professional.
3. Show Me the Money
Don’t be afraid to invest in your business attire. If you pick out classic pieces, it will never go out of style. You will always be prepared even for that last minute interview. Retail stores like The Limited, Ann Taylor, and Joseph A. Banks usually always have sales going on so you most likely never pay full price for suits. Don’t be afraid to ask the sales associate for help, they are knowledgeable and will most likely put together outfits for you. They may pick out pieces you would have never picked out yourself!
4. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
The next step is to practice your interview answers out loud and in front of the mirror. It feels silly to be standing in the bathroom talking to yourself, but it works! You want to practice making eye contact, facial expressions, and you’ll be able to catch any awkward phrases. Or have a friend record you while answering interview questions. That way you will be able to review it and fix any mistakes you may have with your answers.
5. Write it Out
Have your questions for your interviewer typed out beforehand. You’re already going to be pretty nervous, chances of you remembering all the questions you want to ask will be slim. After the introductions are out of the way, ask if it’s okay for you to take notes during the interview. Most chances the interviewer will always say yes.
6. Snail Mail
After an interview, you want to always follow up with the company or the person you interviewed with, thanking them for taking the time to meet with you. My suggestion to you is this, instead of just sending an e-mail, hand write a thank you note as well. It will show the interviewer that you actually took the time to sit down and write them a note. Hand written gestures go a long way. I hope these interview tips have helped you! Please feel free to comment with any questions. -Jordan Tomase