Job Interview Preparation
After you’ve started your research, compile two or three intelligent, well-thought out questions to ask your interviewer when she says: “So, do you have any questions?” Don’t use this opportunity to immediately propose questions about the position’s salary, vacation time, and retirement options. Unless those issues are brought up, cool your jets with these questions until you’re through with the first round. Instead, write down two or three thoughtful questions that you may have, either about the interview process itself or the company’s background.
Prepare and practice answers to common interview questions such as why you left your last job, or “Tell me something about yourself.” Omit negative responses or long stories about your evil former boss or coworkers. Never discuss controversial views or politics. Keep things in a positive light and focus on elements in your background that directly relate to the position at hand. Tossing in fun information about your appropriate hobbies will also help the hiring manager or human resources executive remember you after you’re on the train back home.
Also, use an online mapping tool to plan your route so you know exactly where you’re going ahead of time. A sure way to bomb an interview is to be late. Bring your contact’s name and phone number along with the exact address of where you’re going. You may have been in “the area” years ago to visit a long lost friend but the landscape has changed: highways have been constructed and new roads paved, so use observant caution and online mapping tools to help you find your way.
On the day of the interview, time yourself so you get there about five to ten minutes ahead of time for your interview. Any earlier than that is inconvenient to your interviewer. The person you’re there to meet has set aside a predetermined block of time to meet you. Arriving 20 or more minutes early puts both of you in an awkward position.
If you’re out in your car waiting for 30 minutes you may encounter scrutiny. Find a spot where you can sit and “hide out” in case you arrive way too early. Keep in mind that your interview actually begins the moment you exit the elevator: all eyes are on you. If you’re adjusting your clothes when you exit the elevator you might catch your interviewer on his or her way into the office–first impressions count.
First and foremost, be polite to the receptionist. The receptionist isn’t just a receptionist but actually is a First Impression Specialist. How you treat this person is part of your overall assessment and will be reported back to the assessment team.