We have arrived. You got the call, you flew through the phone interview (see our previous story) and now they want to meet you. It’s time for the interview.
I want to make sure we emphasize the importance of this interview by taking two entries to cover it dividing this opportunity into the “pre-interview” phase and “the interview.” Ultimately the interview will decide whether you get the job because people hire people and not resumes, so take a lot of time to prepare for this meeting.
In the pre-interview phase we could say there are two main areas to address, the mental and the physical.
The physical aspects include not only your general appearance and outfit, but also your body language and eye contact. Research tells us that as much as 85 percent of communication is nonverbal. So make a task list and start with these tips:
- Plan out exactly what you will wear two days before (if possible) and when in doubt, go with something conservative unless you know otherwise.
- On colors—know the rules before you break them. Blue and navy are good choices, grays are also usually a good choice, and with a white shirt or blouse it always looks professional. Wear strong colors like black and red as accents to show your personality.
- For women wear closed toe shoes and plain hosiery. And for men, make sure your shoes are freshly shined.
This may sound ridiculous but if you can get a friend to help, ask them to interview you. Notice your body language and eye contact. Practice a few times until you can sit straight and look them in the eye in a natural, confident way.
The other part of your preparation is mental. This means preparing your mind to handle anything you might be asked about. Start by knowing answers to the basic questions always asked during an interview such as:
“Tell me a little bit about you.”
”Why do you want to work here?”
“Why did you leave your last job?”
“Do you have any questions for us?” (Street tip: Have one but keep it positive, extremely simple and related to a work aspect of the job – not a benefit.)
If you really want this job you must do research. On them and on you. Here is a checklist for further mental preparation:
- Know your resume by heart.
- Know all of your strengths and your ONE or TWO weaknesses.
- Know your life story.
- Know how to summarize your life story.
- Know how to summarize your life story using only the highlights.
- Know the history of the company you’re interviewing.
- Know what the company has interests in and what kind of image and marketing it does if any.
- Know what the company website and all of its social media tools look like.
- Know the job description.
- Know the person or people interviewing you.
- Prepare a basic thank you letter, note or email simply to have it ready to fill in with details and send the moment you get home.
I could make this list so much longer but I think it’s important for everyone to start here and then work out with a goal of gaining as much knowledge and practice at interviewing as possible.
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.