5 Key Steps for Interview Prep (#InterviewTips)

by Liz daRosa @lizdaRosa

Every gets nervous (at least a little bit) before an interview. You are excited because you finally got the call to talk about the position and to really sell yourself.

Prepare for an Interview as you would a Meeting your Hero

Prepare for an Interview as you would a Meeting your Hero

But the reality sets in that you have to “Sell Yourself”! Don’t worry, as long as you are prepared you’ll do a wonderfully.

First, Do Research! Don’t go into an interview (even a phone interview) without doing research on the organization. Google them, talk to your network and look at their website. Take notes and make note of things you learn so you can incorporate that into your discussion as appropriate times. Showing the interviewer that you know about their organization is a plus on your side when they think about moving candidates to the next level.

Second, Be Ready! This may be the most time consuming part of the interview prep process – be ready for the behavioral interview questions. This is a tough area because you need to prepare in advance key ‘stories’ that you can succinctly communicate to show you have successfully handled difficult people, complex projects, persisted, etc.

Third, Pick Your Outfit! This may sound like a ‘silly’ suggestion but if it’s an in-person interview make sure you are professionally dressed. In this case, you can’t go wrong wearing a suit (yes, women you can wear a pantsuit and not be judged!), it’s better to be overdressed. Do not wear anything that will take attention away from the interview. Leave the mini-skirts, skin-tight shirts, and 6 inch high heels at home.

Fourth, Leave Early! While you probably have a GPS that will tell you the ‘best’ route to the interview, leave enough time for any unexpected traffic issues or construction zones. You don’t want to be prepared for the questions and dressed professionally but get there late. Plan to get their at least 30 minutes early. There is no down-side to arriving early. As a hiring manager, I wouldn’t interview candidates who showed up late – my time is important and I blocked off that time to meet with the candidate. I probably missed out on hiring great people but I couldn’t get passed their lateness.

Finally, Send a Thank You! When you are at the interview collect business cards from the folks you talk to, from HR to the hiring manager to members of their team. If they don’t have a card write down their full name, once you have a card from their co-worker you should be able to figure out their email address too. An email thank you is the ‘easiest’ but if you want to be truly memorable send a handwritten note. Send a professional card (nothing ‘cute’) and personalize it – don’t send a generic “It was nice meeting you”. Include something specific from your discussion:

Ms. Smith, It was great meeting you last Friday. I enjoyed our conversation & appreciated you taking the time to tell me about the new program your team is rolling out next month. The [insert name] new program sounds like an exciting initiative for the organization [insert name]. I look forward to speaking with you in greater detail about the initiatives & your dynamic team.

Best Regards, Your Name

Another ‘warning’ do not send the same message to co-workers – they will share it with each other. Make sure you are memorable to the organization for the right reasons!

Your Career Coach, Liz

About the Author: Liz daRosa coaches highly motivated individuals seeking new opportunities or those positioning themselves for promotions. She blogs at Your Career Coach, Liz and tweets here.

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