Post written by Cheryl Mayfield
There are a lot of different ways to prepare for an interview. Some people go as far as having mock interviews with friends, while others squeeze in a quick Hail Mary right before they walk through the interviewer’s doors.
Whatever your approach, the following tips just might help you land your next gig.
1. Create a Professional Email Address
Before you even apply for a position, make sure you create a professional email address to use for all job search related activity. Nothing is quite as embarrassing as having to say out loud that your email address is “email@example.com”!
Incorporate your first and last name into the address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Make Sure Your Voicemail is Set Up Correctly
Make sure you set up your voicemail with a professional greeting. Clear out any old messages so that your mailbox isn’t full when a prospective employer wants to leave a message about an interview, offer, etc.
3. Research the Company/Person You’re Interviewing With
Now let’s jump into the nitty-gritty of interviewing. Once you have your interview set up, do some quality research on the company.
Visit their website to find out information about the company’s values and key principles.
Write down any information that you find valuable and use keywords from the site during your interview.
For example, if the company has a Mission Statement stating that they stand for honesty and integrity, be sure to tell the manager that you value those things as well.
Also, make sure you read through the entirety of the job description so you have a complete understanding of the role.
If you know the interviewer’s name, look them up on LinkedIn and learn about their professional background, education, volunteer organizations and connections in common. This will help you build rapport during the interview.
Doing your homework on both the company and the interviewer/manager ahead of time not only makes you look prepared to the interviewer but will help you feel more confident and comfortable as well.
4. Bring Questions to the Interview
Come prepared with questions to ask during the interview. Write them down and bring them with you. It shows initiative and proves to the interviewer that you’re generally interested in their company. Looking through the company’s website is also a great springboard to generate questions to ask.
Be sure to bring a notepad to write down any important information you receive during the interview.
5. Dress the Part
When dressing for an interview it’s important to look professional and to do your best to match the atmosphere of the company.
For example, if you’re interviewing for a welding position you wouldn’t want to wear a three-piece suit. Of course, you’ll still want to look presentable by wearing a button-up shirt and clean slacks or pressed jeans. Now if you were interviewing for an office job, a three-piece suit is entirely appropriate.
One general rule of thumb to follow when choosing your outfit is to avoid anything with words or graphics on the clothes. Also, stay away from bright/bold colors that draw a lot of attention as they tend to distract and can appear unprofessional. Stick to neutral and muted colors: grays, blacks, tans, and soft pastels.
6. Show Up to Interviews On Time…or Maybe Even a Little Early
Show up on time to all interviews. You can even show up 10-15 minutes early, but not much earlier than that. You don’t want to inconvenience the hiring manager by showing up 30 minutes early when they have other appointments and meetings to attend.
10-15 minutes early is the ideal timeframe. It gives you enough leeway to fill out any paperwork the company might have for you and allows you plenty of time to navigate the building to find the right office.
If you follow the recommendations above, you’ll always be set up for a successful interview! Good luck with the pursuit of your next great employment opportunity!