En Route: A Career Blog

The importance of being well prepared for an interview

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: , , ,
POSTED: December 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Too many candidates mistakenly believe that being called in for an interview is being guaranteed a position. Nothing could be further from the truth. You might be the last person on a short list of candidates. Your skills, knowledge, and abilities are good – but not a perfect match for the company. However, the hiring manager is interested enough to meet with you and allow you to sell yourself to the company.

How do you do that?

PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE

1. Know how to dress. If you’re not familiar with the company culture, visit their website or their offices during work hours to see how staff dress. A warning, however: Even if they wear business casual, you should err on the conservative side during the interview – for men that means a sports jacket and tie; for women, that would mean a nice pantsuit or dress. The exception to that would be if you’re in a creative field and the employees show up in jeans and T-shirts. Then, you would dress business casual. The key is to look professional – you’re not on staff yet.

2. Do extensive research about the company. Know what they’re about. Nothing’s worse for a hiring manager than to interview someone who hasn’t a clue what their company produces.

3. Compose a list of questions about the company that indicate your interest in what is produced and how things work.

4. Prepare a list of answers to the most frequently asked interview questions. For example: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

5. Practice, practice, practice. Make certain your voice and body language don’t give away your anxiety.

6. Know how long it will take to get to your interview so you arrive on time.