How to Have a Successful Interview – Be Prepared

Landing an interview takes a lot of work and patience.  They’re hard to come by, nowadays. But just scheduling an interview doesn’t mean the hard part is over.  There’s still some work to do if you want the interview to be successful. Don’t waste all your effort up to this point by not preparing for the interview.  You managed to get them interested enough to speak with you in person, so don’t lose that momentum. Make sure you’re ready for the interview so you make an outstanding impression that makes them interested enough to hire you.  The interview is not the point.  Getting a paycheck is the point.  So until they’re offering you one, you have to keep up your effort.  But it’s not that hard.  Here are a few of the steps you need to take.

First, if you haven’t already, research the company.  Go to their website and read it thoroughly.  I mean every page. Seriously.  You never know when a bit of trivia you picked up on their site will come in handy.  Years ago I was being interviewed for a position I wasn’t sure I was really qualified for.  I knew I could do it if I had the chance but I wasn’t sure if my interviewer would see it that way.  Anyway, during the interview I mentioned some charity work that the company was involved in that I thought was particularly impressive.  My interviewer wasn’t even aware of the program and asked me to explain what it was about.  The rest of my interview was taken with my enthusiastically explaining the program.  And they offered me the job.  So make sure you know about the company you’re interviewing with.  Get as much information as you can and make note of details that you find interesting or outstanding.  Especially the ones that make you really want to work for that company, in particular.  Effectively communicating why you want to work there and showing enthusiasm is probably the best way to get a job offer.

Related: Find Out Which Companies Are Hiring

I know you see this piece of advice here quite a bit, but here it is again; Check out your online presence and make absolutely certain that it reflects you and your career in a professional manner.  Start with your LinkedIn profile.  Fill it out completely, including your summary.  Use proper grammar and spelling.  You’ll kill any chances of an interview if your profile reads like your third grader niece wrote it for you.  If you don’t have the writing skills or aren’t sure what to do, hire a professional.  Next, Google yourself.  Because that’s what your interviewer is going to do.  If you don’t know how to minimize negative search results, you should know what they are and what other people are seeing.  At least then you won’t be surprised when they ask.  Again, if you need help in that area, hire a professional.

And last, come prepared to talk about the actual job.  Have your career plan in mind.  Think about where you want your career to go and what type of responsibilities you’d like to acquire as time goes on.  Give some thought, before you’re asked, as to what you’d like to accomplish in the position you’re interviewing for.  That way, when they ask about the direction you see yourself going, you’ll be able to give a well thought out, planned, answer.  In addition to a career plan, bring along questions to ask your interviewer.  When they ask you if you have any questions for them, “no, not really” is not an acceptable answer.  Research what you should be asking, and why and take some time to write it down in a small notebook.  Bring the notebook with you to the interview.  That way, when they ask for your questions you’ll have them written down and easily accessible.  And making notes on their answers doesn’t hurt, either.  That way if you have multiple interviews, it’ll be easier to remember what happened at each when you’re choosing between jobs.

Related: What Questions to Ask During Your Interview

Finding a job or new position is a job in itself.  Getting the interview is only part of the work you have to put in.  Being prepared before your interview is the best way to make a fantastic impression.  You’ll come across as more knowledgeable, genuinely interested in working there and demonstrate your dedication to your career.  Even if you’re not particularly interested in working there, because really, sometimes you just need a paycheck and you don’t really care who it comes from. But you don’t want them to know that.  They should think you’re the answer to their problems.  And for a while, you can be.  You just have to get in,


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