How to Prepare for Your Interview
Many candidates I’ve worked with before have asked me this question: “How do I prepare for my interview?” A critical part of my role as a recruiter involves making sure my candidates are thoroughly equipped for their interviews and have a strategy for how they are going to present themselves. Regardless of whether it’s a brief pre-qualification phone interview or a panel interview with all of the department heads in the company, preparation beforehand can absolutely make or break your interview. Here are the most important things I recommend:
- Have several copies of your resume to hand out. This way you can be ready to quickly give it to as many people as necessary. If possible, print the copies on nice resume paper, since it will give a much more professional impression than plain white copy paper. Also, make sure you have a copy for yourself, as well, so you can easily reference it during the interview.
- Email your resume to the interviewer well in advance. In the event that your interview is over the phone or video conference, you obviously can’t give them a physical copy of your resume, so make sure they have a digital copy that can be easily opened and printed ahead of time. I recommend a PDF format, because that is generally compatible with all computers and cannot be accidentally edited by the interviewer. Now, an important note is that if you are being represented by a recruiter, this is not something you need to worry about, as the recruiter will take care of it for you.
- Practice answering questions. A session in front of the mirror can honestly be a great way to ensure your presentation is coming across the way you want it to. Make a cheat sheet of talking points to go along with your resume and some of the questions the interviewer will probably ask you. Your answers should be specific, concise, honest, positive, genuine, and confident. To properly prepare your answers, take a look at our article on How to Answer Interview Questions.
- Know how to get to the interview location well in advance. Look over the directions the day before so you know exactly how long it should take you to arrive, especially if you will have to navigate through traffic. Unless there’s an unexpected emergency, it never looks good to get lost along the way or not give yourself adequate time to get there.
- Be at your best. Get plenty of rest the night before, eat a good meal in advance so you feel energized, set out everything you’ll need ahead of time so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute, and make sure you dress professionally (even if the office observes casual Friday). The better you look and feel, the better you’ll perform.