Congratulations! Your CV has finally struck gold. With an interview call letter in your pocket, you have successfully cleared Step 1. But remember this is just a foot in the door; to enter it on your own terms you need to crack the interview.
We presume that if your resume got selected, then you already have all the qualifications down pat – so we won’t go down that road. However, we must mention that work experience and educational qualifications are just one part – albeit an important one – of a much larger process of selection.
You have to assume that everyone invited for the interview would have similar qualifications and with all things being equal hiring managers select the person they LIKE – someone they like as a person and someone they like for the job profile.
So, your job is to convince them that you are not only the right fit work wise but also for the company culture.
Here are some things you must do before your interview
Invest in your appearance
You know what they say about first impressions. Right? Well, when you walk into the interview room your appearance will create an impression whether you want it or not – so it’s best to make sure it’s a good one.
Invest time and money in curating a good look for your big day. Your clothes should be professional and smart while showing a hint of your personality. It’s easy to go for boring business attire, but if you can add a dash of something interesting, then you might stand out. The hiring manager will be interviewing several candidates, and your red socks or cool tie might make you more memorable. But this is a tight rope to tread – as you want to be interesting but not weird. If you are confident, you can pull it off then go for it or else play safe.
Tip: Make sure you lay out your entire outfit including shoes and accessories the night before.
Clean up your social media feeds
Ideally, you should do this before you even start applying for jobs. Almost every recruiter checks out LinkedIn feeds of their prospective employees. Some even go as far as to stalk you on other social media forums. Make sure you stay professional on LinkedIn and Twitter and keep your other social media feeds private.
Tip: Spend some time sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and add a nice picture. If you are not confident about writing well, then it is a good investment to take tips from a professional career coach or a trusted mentor.
Research the company and the job profile
No one likes an unprepared candidate; it just shows how disinterested he/she is! Research the organisation you are applying for and especially consider the job profile you are interested in.
Some questions to consider are – How can you align your existing qualifications and experience with your job profile? What different do you bring to the table? What are the gaps and how can you convince the manager to overlook these?
Tip: If you have time, then reach out to people with similar job profiles in your network and get some inside information that can make you look well-prepared during the interview.
Prepare stock answers and some questions
There are some standard questions that you can be sure you will be asked so why not prepare the answers in advance! While you are at it, it is also a great idea to prepare some questions for the hiring manager. It helps to show that you have considered the job profile well and that you are someone proactive who is interested in knowing more details.
Tip: What are your strengths and weaknesses? – is the one stock question almost everyone faces! Have a ready and authentic answer to this one!
Finally, practice! If you can do a mock interview with a friend or a colleague, then that’s great! If not then your bathroom mirror will suffice. In fact, do both! Not only will you get to practice your stock answers but you will also get to improve your body language and other nonverbal cues.
Tip: Practice several times to perfect your posture, smile, and tone. You can even use your phone to record a practice interview session!
No one can predict what happens in an interview. Some go well and some not so much. However, it’s great to enter a room feeling prepared – it relaxes you and helps you deal with the situation knowing that you have covered all the basics.
Preparing for an interview doesn’t have to be a DIY job. If you feel you need help, then don’t be shy!