Have you ever felt a little nervous when helping clients when they are finally given the chance to interview? All the work you have done is now at the doorstep of paying off.
You’ve done assessments, had the discussions, helped with LinkedIn profiles, explored options, created a strong cover letter & resume, and now the day has come for an interview. The pressure is on.
Here are my five tips regarding proper planning prevents poor performance at the interview.
1] Do your homework. One of the biggest complaints HR people and hiring managers have is that the person has not done their homework on the company. We once interviewed a man applying for a job at the high school technical center who did NOT know he would be working with high school students! Needless to say, the interview was over as soon as we found this out.
It is unforgivable with all the resources at your fingertips. Even my small company, Peak-Careers Consulting, has a Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube channel, Pinterest page, Facebook page, and a website. You should check out every channel a company has to determine as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with and if they are sending a consistent message.
- What is their product or service?
- What is their philosophy and company culture?
- Is there a common message they are sharing?
- Who is their competition? (I love how LinkedIn shows you what other companies people have searched for.)
- Who do you know that works at the company? Or worked there in the past?
- Who do you know that works for this company’s competitors?
- Where is their growth coming from?
- What are the current trends for this industry?
- What problems do they have and can you help solve them?
There are many others things to look for, but this is a good starting place.
2] Compile your questions. While you are doing your research on the company, think about what questions you would like to ask at the end of your interview. When you are asked “Do you have any questions for us?” you better have some good questions and obviously, NOT “How much money will I make?” Be thinking critically about the company and the position.
- What will it look like when you are there on your first day?
- As you envision your first day, what is not clear?
- What would you like to know about your supervisor? Your team?
Check out this Pin on my Pinterest page for more ideas on what to ask. (Click here)
3] What will you wear to the interview? Seems obvious but you should have a pretty good idea of what the company expects you to wear when you work there. In general, I suggest dressing up one level above that for the interview. I know, what the heck does that mean? This is hard, but this is why you have your “value-added” relationships (your network).
- What are the industry standards?
- What did you pick up from your research?
- Have a plan for your clothes as well as a backup plan. What if you spill something on your favorite shirt/blouse?
- Check out this Pinterest Pin on what to wear to an interview
4] Video yourself answering a few of the questions you think they’ll ask., like Do a test run with questions such as: “Tell me about yourself” or “Why do you want this position?” and “Why do you want to work for us?” Record the video and check yourself for the “uhh’s” and the flipping or twisting of the hair, a better order of your answer to the question, etc… You simply can not practice too much. Do you have a friend or coach who would be willing to do a mock interview and give you honest feedback?
5] Tap into / or Take advantage of the power of positivity. Remember, they already think you can do the job! They would not be interviewing you if they didn’t think so. Now they are looking for a good “fit” for their company, office, and team. Being nervous is normal. You should be a little nervous; it makes you more aware of what is going on around you (think saber tooth tiger noise in the woods – I’ll bet you are keenly aware of every noise at that point).
There are power poses you can do to give you more confidence. Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk is great. If you have not seen it, check out her two power poses here.
Wonder Woman (yes men, you can do this) and Tall & Proud both work. Use these before your mock interview and right before your actual interview.
*Note: you may want to find a bathroom or a quiet place before the interview to do this, NOT when you are walking into the interview room 🙂
What tips do you have for your clients
when preparing for an interview?
Also, consider reading, “Today is not the day to be humble: 6 Tips for Better Interviews”
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a monthly newsletter for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
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