Going on an interview means taking a new step in your career life. It can be for a fresh start, career advancement, career shift, or it can be for a promotion in your current company.
When you appear in an interview, you only have one goal – to land the job. And in order to do that, you have to succeed in the interview.
If an interview is a battle, you have to come equipped with gear and strategies. Here are the things to prepare before going on an interview:
Upon receipt of interview invitation
1. Acknowledgment and confirm for the interview
Whether you were notified via email, job portal, SMS or through a call, always make it a point to acknowledge and confirm your availability for an interview even if you were able to confirm right away.
If there is an opportunity, inquire if the interview is a one on one or a panel interview so you can best prepare for it.
2. Free your schedule
As soon as you confirm for an interview schedule, free your whole day’s schedule. Your interview may be in the morning but some companies do a one-day processing of applicants and you might just be scheduled for another interview afterward.
If your interview is in the afternoon, it is best to refrain from scheduling anything prior that might interfere with your travel schedule to the interview.
3. Research about the company
If you agree to go on an interview with a company, you basically agree with the idea of working for them. Equip yourself with knowledge about the company’s history, the organizational composition, their brands or products and their competitors.
Some interviews start with “What do you know about our company?” and it can make or break your interview.
4. Prepare interview questions
After reviewing information about the company, devise possible questions and come up with your best answers as well. Some questions should pertain to the company, the role you are applying for, your job experiences and core competencies, their competitors and your personal background.
Interview questions to prepare should not be just about you. Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview as well. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the company better.
5. Update your CV and Pertinent Documents
Although they might already have your CV at hand, it is a good practice to have an updated one together with the relevant documents which will them more about your experiences and skills.
Updating your CV will also help you review the possible questions the interview may ask based on your personal background and job experiences.
6. Bring a Valid ID
Not all companies have their own building. And if they an office space within a building, the building they are will most likely require you to present a proper identification.
7. Plan your travel route
Arriving at the interview venue early is very crucial. Aside from the fact that you get a plenty of time to catch your breath, freshen up and relax, arriving late might not leave a good impression. Plan your travel route with at least 2 options.
8. Plan your attire
You do not have to dress to impress for an interview but you have to dress for the role. Choosing appropriate corporate attire will help you look and feel confident during the interview.
On the day of your interview
9. Eat something before the interview
Do not skip breakfast but do not overeat either. You need optimum brain function so choose something healthy and refreshing like a servicing of fruit, salad or sandwich and fruit juice. Skip coffee because it can make you antsy.
10. Leave early to arrive early
Since you have planned your travel route to the interview, stick to it unless anything untoward might cause you to arrive late. Make sure to check real-time traffic situation and alternate routes on travel apps an hour or 30 minutes before your departure.
11. Freshen up
Once you arrive at the interview venue and you have time, take the opportunity to freshen up. Locate the powder room, check your appearance, your clothing, your shoes, your smile and your breath.
Practice your introduction if possible, exercise your jaws, mouth and tongue to make sure you speak as clearly as possible.
Arrival at the Interview Venue
12. Have a friendly yet professional introduction
Approach the receptionist with a smile, introduce yourself and state your purpose. Do not leave the reception until you are advised of the next step.
As soon as you receive the information that you need, do not forget to say “Thank you” and smile.
13. Relax and wait for your turn
Take slow but deep breaths and relax. Mind your gestures and do not act nervous. You can run through your interview questions again to divert your attention or you can simply relax and wait for your turn.
14. Meeting the interviewer/interviewers
Introduce yourself in a polite and professional manner. Offer a firm handshake and hand the interviewer your updated CV. As soon as they start the interview, be attentive and understand the question clearly before giving an answer.
If you do not understand, always make a clarification politely but keep the clarification at a minimum. Make occasional eye contact, be direct to the point and avoid flowery words.
Lastly, be mindful of your mannerisms and expressions. Gestures manifest if we are nervous or if we do not know how to respond properly to the questions.
At the end of the interview
15. Ask questions
“Do you have any questions?” this is how an interviewer usually ends an interview. Depending on how the interview went and the tone of the interviewer’s voice, you will know if there is time to further entertain your questions.
This is an opportunity to get to know the company and the interviewer better. It will best showcase your interest to the company as well.
Ask questions about the company and the interview itself without being intrusive. These are your guide questions and how to ask them professionally:
- How long have you been with the company and what makes you stay?
- What do you think is the common trait that makes up the culture of this organization?
- Where does the company see itself in the next 5 to 10 years?
- What is the average length of stay of people in the company?
- Do you have tips on how I can further improve in a job interview?
- What are the next steps after the interview?
A job interview is a gateway to a possible long-term career opportunity. People apply for a new job for various reasons and it can be for your first job, career advancement, career shift or a promotion.
Job interviews can make you anxious but knowing exactly how you can put your best foot forward from the way you present yourself can help you nail an interview.
Remember to dress appropriately, arrive early, bring the necessary documents and answer the interview questions confidently and intelligently.
The next thing you know your phone is ringing or your email gets a new message saying that “You’re Hired”!