It’s a great feeling when you get that email or phone call from human resources or a representative from the company that you’ve been selected to move on to the interview process. Once the scheduling is all done and a date/time has been set, you can’t rest on luck to get you the position. You need to be ready, prepared, and have a game plan to nail that interview. Here are some tips from US News & World Report on what you should always be prepared with for your next interview.
1. Resumes: please recognize that this is plural
If you don’t show up to the interview with several copies of your resume, you might as well just leave the interview and accept the fact you are the reason you didn’t get the job. There’s a reason you need to have several copies, like 15, with you at all times — you never know who needs it and how many you will need. Chances are you may only get asked for two or three copies to be distributed, but better safe than sorry.
2. Company background: you got this interview, now you have to do homework
There’s no excuse. Take an hour or so to practice with a friend and also look up company facts and history. These will come in handy during your interview. Also take the time to look up if they’ve made any distinguished lists on Forbes, US News & World Report, Fortune, etc. Knowing this information shows that you took the time to learn about the company and can then expand your knowledge to the workplace.
3. Questions: what kind of questions should be asked?
Interviews are obviously intimidating, and we generally practice the answers that we expect will come our way. However, a good candidate always asks questions, too. What kind of questions should be asked? Well, we don’t want to ask a stupid question because, yes, those do exist, so here are some good go-tos.
- Ask about opportunities for growth in the future and the current company outlook for the quarter.
- Ask about company morale and dynamic.
- Ask what a typical day in the office is like.
- Save the benefits questions for final rounds of interviews.
4. Professional Binder: invest in a nice looking portfolio
Storing your resumes, cover letters, and professional references should be a one stop shop. Grab a professional binder from Staples or OfficeMax so you look clean and organized. Really this is the only thing you need to bring to an interview. Bringing a briefcase may look professional as well, but fiddling through your briefcase can set off the first indication that your organizational skills aren’t all there. Keep it simplistic. Make sure you are ready to take notes when needed and have questions written out beforehand.
5. Smile: show your excitement
Always need a cliché in here at some point. Show that you are excited to have this opportunity and always make eye contact and smile. Don’t nod your head excessively or give reactions to what is being said constantly.
Lastly, loosen up. You got this.