If you didn’t prepare at all, this question might just be difficult to answer if not downright impossible. Unless, “I didn’t” is an answer you feel like delivering with confidence.
Be ready to have the interviewer lower their first impression of you, end the interview and suggest that in the future you do so to make the most of the opportunity and stop wasting both your time and theirs.
A job interview is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, education and personal suitability as it relates to a job possibility. For you as the candidate, it also represents a great opportunity to sit down face-to-face with at least one person—and perhaps more—from an organization you might be highly interested in working with, and explore in more depth if this organization is one you’d like to spend some time employed for. Why would you pass up the opportunity to do some advanced preparation?
Honestly, there are a few reasons why people fail to prepare in advance for job interviews. I suppose one could be so overly confident that the job is theirs before they even arrive that the time would seem better spent leading up to the job interview. Perhaps you’ve been told the job is yours; the interview merely a formality. If this is the case, you might just be going through the motions, but if someone other than the person you are expecting should conduct the interview, they might be surprised enough at your lack of preparation that they cannot endorse you and surprise, they go with someone else.
Also true, you might not prepare out of ignorance of how to go about preparing. When it’s your first job interview and you’re in your teens, or I suppose you’re well into your 30s but you’ve never had a true job interview before, you may not know what to research or how to go about it. Very similar is the person who never having had an interview at all, preparing for one isn’t even something they’ve considered, let alone know how to go about it.
Then there’s the cocky man or woman who figures, “Hey it’s me after all, they’ll be lucky to have me and my natural charm and good looks will win the job.” Oh yes, these types are still out there, and no amount of advice will change their point of view. Be they handsome, gorgeous, sexy or otherwise, they’re counting on their physical assets to give them the edge. Depending on the job and the interviewer, it might even work. Some interviewers are after all, rookies themselves.
Ah, but you. What will you answer if the interviewer should ask you what you did to prepare for the interview? Typically in our times, you should have made an effort to check out the organization on the net. A webpage visit is an easy and convenient way to start. Look for buttons to click on like About Us, The Company, Contact, or Who we are.
You might also want to ask the person who invites you to an interview about who will conduct the interview. Knowing the names and positions of the people ahead of time gives you people to research via LinkedIn. Not only will you learn about these people, you might see their pictures and feel less intimidated by the unknown as you walk in the room. Certainly, look up the organization on LinkedIn and read!
Any contacts you have at an organization interviewing you are sources to be tapped for information. Inside info, of course, that you’ll just not get anywhere else. What is it really like to work there? While a job posting says what you’ll do on the job, where is most of your time spent? Find out about the culture, atmosphere and the intangibles too.
You might want to take a dry run out to the site of the upcoming interview to check exactly how long it will take to get there. Maybe pop in and pick up some literature, an annual report, people watch as they come and go. You can pick up a lot of information just watching people such as their clothing styles, whether they have a spring in their step and a smile on their faces or they walk in like they’re dragging a ball and chain. Locate that washroom near the interview area you might use to freshen up in too.
Another key piece of preparation is a mock interview. Sitting down and going over your answers to some key questions is a good way to build confidence, find and correct any areas of concern, and improve your self-confidence. Getting feedback from someone who either works there or who can give you objective feedback is well worth your time.
Do not neglect to come up with a few questions of your own. What do you personally really want to know? What’s important to you? Management style, advancement opportunities, salary and benefits, travel requirements, the chance to collaborate with others? Training incentives?
Just imagine heading in, getting comfortably seated and you realize you really do want this job. After putting you at ease with some small talk, you’re first asked to tell the interview panel a little about yourself and what you did to prepare for the interview. Will you be off to a good start?
Written By Kelly Mitchell