That all important Interview preparation
Here’s a quick checklist to ensure you are at your best when it’s finally time for that all-important face to face meeting.
The week before –
Research company website for their latest news and press releases.
Read recent news articles on the prospective company as their website will only carry positive news – you want to have as much information (good and bad) as possible.
Get a copy of the 3 most recent annual reports to understand their annual and quarterly sales / profits and identify any trends. Use these as a basis for any questions – tell me Mr Interviewer why is turnover up/down 20% on the same quarter last year?
Use LinkedIn and industry trade press to find out more about the people you’ll be meeting in a professional and personal capacity, if the interviewer lists golf as a pastime and you play off 6 you might want to mention in passing that you enjoy the odd game. Similarly, if they volunteer in some capacity don’t be afraid to ask them why they do it – everyone loves to talk about themselves.
Know how to pronounce names of people that you will meet.
If this is a second interview, review notes of past meetings. What were they keen on last time and more importantly what concerns did they have that you need to address?
Read the last couple of industry / trade magazines to see what’s happening in the marketplace and of course keep up with the week’s business news so you have something to talk about.
Create your list of questions that you will ask the interviewer.
Try and schedule a day / time where you shine best – Tuesday mid-morning works well as Monday is always straight after the weekend and no one wants the afternoon post lunch slump slot or 5pm when everyone has one hand on their car keys.
If there is an application form then complete it neatly in advance, keep a copy for yourself.
Get your proof of right to work out – passport or national identity card or biometric residence permit or card number.
Get a haircut – “what’s the difference between a good haircut and a bad one about a week”. It’s shallow but first impressions count and you need to look your best.
If a recruiter is involved, have a chat about positioning for the interview. Try and understand how many others are in the process and if the recruiter has exclusivity on the role. You need to know if you are one of three or one of eight.
If possible take a drive to the company during rush hour to understand if the commute works for you, when you get there check out parking and find the building entrance, you do not want to arrive flustered on the interview day after driving round an anonymous business park. Is there a security office that you need to report to if so then this all adds time to your journey.
Create a contact sheet for each company and any associated recruiter with names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses – do this for every interview that you have planned.
The day before –
Shine shoes, check fingernails.
Choose a suit with shirt and tie or blouse and lay it out ready to go. If the company has a relaxed dress code then still dress neatly and conservatively.
Coordinate accessories including watch, jewellery and bag.
Pack your bag with at least 2 copies of your CV with all your relevant contact details on as they may only have an anonymised version from a recruiter, current business cards, a notebook with something to write with plus your fully charged laptop if you are making a presentation or have examples of your work. You also need access to your personal calendar in case they ask to schedule a follow up meeting.
Check the weather for the next day in case it impacts on the journey time or you need an umbrella.
If you like hard physical exercise – and you should – then try and avoid this the day before as no one wants to limp stiffly into an interview with DOMS.
Try not to eat a spicy or garlic filled evening meal.
Get a good night’s rest.
On the day –
Try to work out in the morning. Avoid swimming as no one wants to smell of chlorine or have red eyes. If you can’t get to the gym then a few bodyweight exercises at home or a brisk walk out in nature will help improve your alertness and relax you. You are not looking for personal bests and to spend the rest of the day feeling drained just enough to get the blood flowing.
Get some breakfast, try and hydrate but not too much as you want to concentrate on the meeting not worrying about your bladder.
Don’t have breakfast at the coffee shop no one wants to see you covered in crumbs on a sugar high.
Plan on being punctual and intend to arrive several minutes early, take the earlier train or bus if on public transport.
Do a once-over in the mirror for hair and clothing.
Pay attention to your posture.
Have a reasonable idea of appropriate, positive opening comments.
Put on a warm, relaxed smile.
Prepare for a dry, firm handshake.
Get ready – it’s showtime !!!
As soon as you can then make post interview notes – what went well / what needs attention – what are your thoughts about the interview, the interviewer, the role and the company.
If a recruiter is involved, know how to reach him / her after the interview for a debriefing.
When you get home drop the interviewer an email telling him / her how much you enjoyed the interview then reconfirm your interest and remind them how close a fit you are e.g. it was great that we discussed the design for Widget X as you remember in my current role I am responsible for the design of Widget Y. Also if you connected on a personal basis like the golf example above don’t be afraid to remind them of your shared interests e.g. thanks for the interview I enjoyed it immensely I hope we can move forward even if it means I have less time to work on my short game.
For tailored advice about interview prep then call Gary Simpson on 01283 713832 / 07968 732744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.