Though it is basic information, we all need a checklist in preparation for an interview. Some of these pointers are obvious but in the process of preparing for the in-person interview it is vital that you check all these items off the list in an attempt to be as successfull as possible.
1) Prepare and rehearse the Elevator Speech. Be prepared and hopefully the more sophisticated interviewer will not need to go down this road, but on occasion a candidate will be asked to describe his career in short phrases. Like any other marketing opportunity, be prepared to get the attention of the interviewer immediately with a strong and robust elevator speech about yourself.
2) Be prepared for the wildest/off-base questions possible. Always be ready for a question that will describe the kind of person you are. Beyond the obvious inquiries about your career and your past employers, always be ready for such things as your most recent book read, favorite authors and mentors and your likes and dislikes. Make sure you position your weaknesses as positives such as I am a perfectionist and I do need to work on not always demanding such from my fellow team members. Practice all the answers so that you won’t seem startled by a question out of right field.
3) Above all never arrive late and never bring along your posse. The worst thing that can happen is arriving late for an interview. There is no reason for being tardy! It is recommended that if you are not comfortable with the location of the interview – plan it out earlier. Make a practice drive or cab ride just to make sure you know where you are going. Arriving at the interview location 5 or 10 minutes early gives the impression that you are a punctual person and ready to go. Of course never bring the family or friends along to wait in the lobby – it is not the professional image you want to give.
4) Greet the Interviewer with a Firm Handshake. We know too many people with weak,wimpy handshakes and though it may not be an ultimate deciding factor for the job, it certainly isn’t something positive. There are candidates who can’t help but have a sweaty hand in these situations; the answer for those folks is wipe those hands periodically and how about baby powder?
5) Bring along an extra copy of your resume and a notebook. Though it is very likely that the interviewer will be working from your resume during the interview, it is important that you bring along an extra copy or two just in case there are additional people in the room. It give the impression that you prepared for this event. Also, bring along a notepad so that you can write down points brought forth by the interviewer. It again makes you look professional. Finally, bring along a copy of your references just in case you are asked for them.
6) Positive Disposition and Maintain Eye Contact. It does go without saying that an interview is a performance that you want to nail and to that end you need to be energized and engaged. Even if you are not feeling your best – you must be at your best. You must also make sure that you maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Never look down or over their heads because it certainly gives the impression that you may not have interest in what is going on. I would also recommend that you take your watch off your wrist so that you don’t check on the time once you are in the interview room. Remember how George H.W. Bush looked in the 1992 debate when he periodically looked at his watch! And by all means, turn the cell phone off!
7) Know the Company You Are Interviewing With. It is so easy to Google the company you are interviewing with to determine all the important information you will need during the discussion. Talk like you know what they do but always phrase a question or two that is inquisitive but also shows that you have done your homework about the potential employer.
8) Dress Professionally and Watch Those Habits of Yours. Your attire at a job interview is not the opportunity to show your creativity or flare for color. A nice black or dark suit is what you want. Save the bold colors for once you have the job. Also, watch the non-verbs. Make sure your motions and hand gestures aren’t too mechanical or over-used. Also, move your hands away from your mouth and face and please, please leave your hair out of the conversation. Use your hands to emphasize and embellish and not for nervous ticks.
9) No Jokes, No Babbling and No Bad Mouthing. Not everybody appreciates your humor. Remember when you laughed at your bosses jokes because he thought he was funny? Well, this is the time to be pleasant but humor is not welcomed by all. It is also important to keep your responses to crisp, exact phrases. They teach you when you are being inteviewed on television to respond in a brief manner (30 seconds is good) because if you are any longer you might just be cut or interupted. Finally, this is not the opportunity to badger your former employers. Talk about amicable departures and your desire to move forward rather than being fired and not liking the people you worked with.
10) Have Questions Prepared for the Conclusion of the Interview. It is important that you have questions ready to ask once the interview seems to be coming to a conclusion. Even though you may have had many of your questions answered throughout the interview, it is important to show that you are interested in the job and would like to finish the discussion with these 2 or 3 questions. Timeframe for the job as well as how many other candidates are questions that always should be asked.
There are many other points of interest for the interview but these 10 are certainly necessary for a succesful and positive interview. Good Luck!