Congrats! You’ve made it through the screening process and have been invited for your first interview with the company. To make sure you put your best foot forward, here are some tips to ensure you’re at your best by preparing properly for tomorrow’s interview.
- Research: make sure you know who you’re meeting with as well as some solid background on the company, its mission and goals. Knowing a bit about the interviewer and anyone else who may be present will help ease your nerves and allow you to feel confident and comfortable.
- Review all of your work history: In addition to learning all about the company, make sure you review all your relevant work experience. You’ll be asked about your weaknesses and strengths and you’ll want to have a thoughtful response ready.
- Craft your story:Think about how you want to share the human side of your personality that can’t be revealed through your resume and cover letter. Maybe talk a little bit about where you come from, what sets you apart, you’re leadership skills, etc. Think about what image you want to convey and draw the interviewer in.
- Decide what you’ll wear:Even if you never do this, put together an outfit that’s appropriate and make sure it’s clean, pressed and accessorized. You don’t want to be scrambling around the morning of the interview.
- Gather a “go” bag:Bring along some essentials: a bottle of water, extra copies of your resume, references, the interviewer’s contact info, any instructions about where to park, what entrance to use, etc. Bring a pen and a notepad, breath mints or mouthwash.
- Determine your route/transportation:The last thing you need is to get lost on the way to the interview. Be sure you know the route, anticipate any traffic and give yourself plenty of time. Make sure you know where to park and any other instructions about getting into the building or passing security.
- Create a cheat sheet:This is a list of your most important details: who you’re meeting with, what their title is, some highlights about your past accomplishments and brief stories to tell as well as a list of question to ask at the end.
- Get a good night’s sleep:Be sure to do all your preparations well in advance of your bed time. Power down your devices at least an hour before bed, get comfortable and wind down so you can relax and sleep. You certainly don’t want to wake up cranky.
- Plan to eat breakfast:Even if you typically don’t eat in the morning, you’re going to need to fuel yourself for success. Put together a protein, some toast and fruit if you can. It will help you focus and prime your brain.
- Talk a walk:Get some fresh air and take a brief walk the night before so you can go to bed relaxed and wake more energized and confident as well as shake off any stress.
Here’s what NOT to do or bring to your interview:
- Don’t scroll through your phone waiting to be called in. You don’t need to look “startled” when they call your name or be distracted by something you read on social media.
- Don’t sit there in the waiting area with earphones on listening to music.
- Don’t forget to turn your phone off before you enter the building. The interview begins the minute you walk in the door. You never know who’ll you’ll meet or who’s observing you.
- Don’t bring up salary issues in the first interview. You have a much stronger negotiating position when you receive the offer and you know they want you.
- Don’t wear heavy perfume or cologne. That can be very off-putting to others.
- Don’t bring up or point out areas where you’re experience doesn’t exactly match the requirements. It’s better to have prepared a way to discuss your ability to learn quickly and your desire to meet the challenge.
- Don’t ever badmouth your former boss or colleagues. This always backfires.
- “No, I don’t have any questions,” just screams disinterest. Don’t arrive without a few thoughtful questions to ask at the end of the interview.