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8 Ways to Prepare for the Interview (Part 2 for the Interviewee)

Posted by Mary Bradbury Jones on August 06, 2015

perform-better-in-an-interviewCongratulations – after much hard work creating a resume, networking and applying for jobs, you’ve made it past the résumé review and have been selected for an in-person interview! We recently covered how managers or business owners should be preparing to give the best possible interview for optimal results… and now we’ll dive into what, as the interviewee, you should be doing prior to and leading up to the meeting.

1. Calm Your Nerves

When you’re nervous, it shows. They can make you forget to do simple things like listen, making you look like you’re uninterested in the position. In order to combat your nerves, get plenty of sleep the night before, and avoid coffee that morning. Plan your journey, being confident in the route you’ll take to the company; completing a ‘dry run’ if possible, will help to settle some nerves. During the interview, remember to smile, take deep breaths, and pause before you answer difficult questions, giving yourself a moment to compile an answer. Check out these 10 weird ways to beat interview nerves.

2. Compare the Job Description to Your Résumé

A great way to stand out from the interview pool is to take the job description and give examples of things you’ve already done that’ll prove you’re a capable of soaring in this position. First, highlight the top three to five requirements of the position. Next, compare those requirements with your background. Third, write down examples that demonstrate that you possess the desired skills. Lastly, practice saying those examples in front of a mirror out loud. It may seem awkward, but practicing in front of a mirror ensures that the words flow well and you look comfortable and confident while saying them.

3. Get to Know the Interviewer

When you can relate to your interviewer on a more personal or social level, often times you’ll stand out in their mind. If you know who’ll be interviewing you, consider looking them up on social media. Maybe you’ll discover you’re both huge Rolling Stones fans, or love the outdoors. Without giving up your cover, casually try to work those similarities into the conversation. If you can get your interviewer to tell you about the time he/she waited outside of a music venue to meet the Rolling Stones, you’ve got this in the bag.

4. Be Prepared and Arrive Early

This isn’t rocket science. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re ten minutes early, you’re on time. Anticipate anything that’ll slow you down the day of your interview, and plan accordingly. Additionally, make sure to bring a few copies of your resume, a pad of paper and pen to write notes, and if applicable, a portfolio of your work.

5. Dress for Success

Whether you like it or not, your appearance is the first thing people notice about you, and first impressions speak volumes. If you look good, you’ll feel confident. Pick out your most suitable ‘power outfit’, try it on, iron if necessary and have it ready to go the night before. It’s OK to show your personality, but leave that hot pink mini skirt, or faded Stones shirt in the closet.

6. Anticipate Potential Questions, and Be Prepared to Answer Them Accordingly

While some companies like Google have been known to ask really abstract questions like “How many cows are in Canada?” it’d be really hard to anticipate, and prepare for questions like that. The best thing you can do is to brush up on some of the most common interview questions and craft a strong answer for them. For all other random  questions about cows, take a deep breath, pause to compile your thoughts, and show them your creative thinking skills.

7. Research the Latest News/Events at the Company

It’s important to know about the company you’re looking to work for. You’ll really impress the interviewer if you’re already familiar with certain annual events the company executes, or up-to-date on the latest news at the office. Use social media and the company website to read up on any current events. Keep an eye out for anything that may impact your role.

8. Turn That Research Into Questions

For example, if you noticed recent changes to upper management, ask if any of those managers had oversight of your potential department. If so, has a new manager been hired? What have the trends been since that new person took charge? Acting concerned about the well-being of the company shows how much you want this job. People are often hired based on their questions more than their answers. The reason for this is simple. Well-thought-out questions display research, deeper understanding of the industry and effort beyond the average job seeker.

Being prepared is the best thing you can do to perform better in an interview. Communicating that you know your own candidacy, how it matches to the position, and have a strong sense of the employer make for a successful interview. The work you do before the interview is viewed as insight into the work you will do as an employee. These eight tips allow you to make a great impression, really setting you apart from other candidates.

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