Follow these simple guidelines to prepare for your next big interview:
1. THINK ABOUT WHAT A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER IS LOOKING FOR
* They want to hire someone who will be reliable and dependable. So, show up for the interview on time, don't cancel unless you have a very good reason, and be prepared for your appointment.
* They want to hire someone who will represent them well, and who gets along well with others. Thus, be friendly and respectful with everyone that you meet at your interview, from the secretaries, janitors, colleagues, and bosses.
* They want to hire someone who is honest. With all of the focus in the news on corporate scandals, "business ethics" is a hot topic right now.
* Someone who is productive and will earn their pay. Be prepared to show examples of your ability to multi-task, meet deadlines, and work on multiple projects at the same time.
2. CREATE A POSITIVE FIRST IMPRESSION
* In addition to dressing professionally and being well-groomed, make sure that your handshake is firm and that your posture exudes confidence.
* Be friendly and courteous. Greet everyone. Smile! Keep your energy level up throughout the interview, even if you are meeting with several people.
* If the interviewer is a "talker" make sure you stay alert and seem interested in what they have to say. Don't let your eyes wander around their office or they may think you aren't paying attention...this will make them wonder about your interest in the job.
* Keep a positive attitude. If they ask you to fill out any paperwork, do it cheerfully and neatly. Remember, anything you do during the interview is an illustration of what you will be like on the job.
* Act professional! Don't chew gum, smoke, or bring a soda to the interview. Keep backpacks, pets, parents, and friends at home!
3. DON'T ALLOW THESE SIMPLE THINGS TO HURT YOUR INTERVIEW SUCCESS
* Being unprepared. If you seem like you don't know much about their company, you'll come off looking uninterested in the job. If you don't have phone numbers for references with you, you'll look disorganized. If you get lost on the way to the interview, they'll wonder about your organizational skills, too. Cover all of your bases ahead of time!
* Complaining. Don't complain about anything: your current job, the weather, how hard it was to find a parking spot, etc.
* Failure to make eye contact.
* Being rude. Do your best to keep every contact with the company at a courteous, professional level. Don't allow yourself to get rude on the phone if you don't hear back about a job right away. Sometimes things happen that delay their ability to hire on their original timeline.
4. PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME FOR EACH INTERVIEW
* Make sure you know WHERE the interview is being held (which building? which office number?) and WHO you are meeting with (get a name!). Find out where to park, as well.
* Think about your skills and experiences ahead of time so you aren't caught off guard. Try reading your resume right before an interview to remind yourself about your previous experiences. Another good exercise is to read the job announcement, and think about what you've done that is similar.
* If you are lacking in any of the key areas, be prepared to discuss your plans for tackling the deficiencies (reading, taking a class, etc.).
* Have several questions prepared for them. A few good questions include, "What are the key goals & challenges for the department?", or, "What can you tell me about your professional background?". Of course, you always want to ask about their hiring timeline as well.
* Think about your own personal logistics issues ahead of time. When can you start work? Do you have transportation or childcare issues? Try to have these issues sorted out well before your interview so that you can make your start as stress-free as possible.
Good luck with your next interview, and stay tuned for advice in answering specific interview questions!