You have sent out all those application letters with your carefully crafted resumes and have finally received a call for a face-to-face interview. No matter how many of these interviews you go to, it can be very stressful. The key is to "Be Prepared". The more prepared you are, the more likely you would walk into the interview with confidence. This interview is your opportunity to stand out from other qualified individuals and to impress upon the employer why you are the right person for the job and to also find out if this job is the right one for you.
Here are ten (10) important tips to help prepare you for your next interview:
1. Do your research
Find out as much as you can about the organization such as the goods and/or services offered, the type of customers it may serve, its size, its mission and organizational goals and objectives, and its owner(s). Organizational brochures, annual reports and websites are excellent sources of information. By displaying this kind of knowledge gives you credibility in the interview and would help you better answer the questions asked.
2. Know the location of the interview
Find out the exact location of the office to which you are to report for the interview and how to get there. Ask yourself, "What is the best way to travel to get to the interview on time?", "How long will it take for me to get to the interview?", "Exactly who am I suppose to be meeting?", "What number should I call in case there is a problem with getting to the interview?" or "Where would I have to park?" These are possible issues which could be addressed prior to the interview to avoid any unnecessary stress.
3. Dress to Impress
Find out the dress code of the work place, so that you will be appropriately dressed for the interview. Sometimes it is difficult to get a sense of the office culture prior to the interview so conservative wear should be more than adequate. Your clothing should be neat, pressed and professional. Furthermore, your hair should be well styled and nails should be well manicured. It is important to remember that the interviewer would be looking at even the smallest details to get a sense of who you truly are.
Prepare yourself mentally by thinking of some possible questions you may be asked and think of brief answers to these questions. If possible, ask someone to assist you by going through a mock interview as practice. It is also important to prepare questions to ask your interviewer. The answers to these will help you to determine whether you want the job. Also, by asking challenging questions about the job and the organization will make a positive impression on your interviewer.
5. Confirm your references
Identify at least two (2) professional references which can be former supervisors, work colleagues or teachers/lecturers. It is not recommended to use family members as reference because their recommendations may not be taken too seriously. Secure all referees' permission to use them as references beforehand and be certain that they would speak highly of you if contacted.
6. Arrive Early
Be on time for the interview. You should arrive at least 15 minutes early so that you would have time to calm yourself before you meet your interviewer. You should also go to the interview alone. Taking along a friend or a relative for support would create an impression of low self confidence, which would not work in your favour. When you get to the interview, make sure to announce yourself to the receptionist. If you can, go to a restroom and check your appearance in a mirror. Also, while you wait, avoid taking any calls. It may leave the impression that you have better things to do and other places to be, diminishing the importance you place on this opportunity. It is best to turn off the cell phone to ensure that it doesn't ring during the interview.
7. Secure all necessary documentation
Place all the information and documents to be taken to the interview in one envelope or file. You may need the following:
- Academic qualifications - degree, diploma,certificate
- Birth certificate
- Identification card
- Passport size photo, certified by an Attorney-at-Law, Medical Doctor, Justice of the Peace or Minister of Religion.
8. Prepare to Market Yourself
During the interview, you would have to find the balance between being boastful and modest. You would have to essentially praise yourself, but focus more on what you have achieved and what you can offer the organization. Confidence is desirable by most employers. However, overconfidence/arrogance could turn off the interviewer. It is important to prepare and practice what is commonly referred to as an "elevator speech" which is a brief overview of you that should be no longer than an elevator ride. Include your strengths and abilities and what makes you unique from all the other applicants. For more information on what to expect during an interview, CLICK HERE.
9. Ask those questions
Remember in Step 4, it was recommended to prepare questions to ask the interviewer. Don't neglect to ask them. Interviewers favour candidates who display some knowledge of the organization and who shows genuine interest in its activities.
Send a short note or a brief e-mail to the interviewer, thanking him/her for giving you this opportunity. If you don't hear anything after one week, you can call the interviewer and politely inquire if a final decision has been made.
Other Relevant Information:
Types of Interviews
Self-Evaluation after the Interview