Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 ways to prepare for an interview and shine like a star.

7 Ways to prepare for an interview and shine like a star.

Is your way of interview preparation helping or hurting your chances?  There are a lot of people who are talking about the best way to prepare for interviews.  I would like to throw my 2 cents worth in the ring.   If you Google “interview preparation”, you will be hit with onslaughts of information to try sift through.  Preparing for an interview can be a nerve racking experience and it can also be an exciting process.  Here are 7 ideas to try when you are preparing for an interview.

1.       Make sure your clothes are clean, pressed and ready to go.  Take you suit or dress suit to the cleaners and have them spruce them up.  There is nothing worse than wearing wrinkled or even out of date clothes to an interview.  Make sure that you have the appropriate outfit for the job.  For Men the suit should be Blue or Grey, according to many sites, and for the Women make sure you wear wither a dress skirt or pants suit that does not reveal to much.
2.      There are so many people that do not know the appropriate time to show for an interview.  I have heard people say 30 minutes, and even some say that one should show up an hour early for the interview.  The appropriate time to show up for an interview is 10 minutes prior to the interview.  I understand why people think showing up 30 minutes to an hour early is a good thing.  They think it shows dedication and determination to do well on the job, but what they fail to see is that showing up that early is disrespectful to the employer because now their day has been offset.  Maybe they do not want you to show up and run into the other candidates.
3.      What do you know about our company is now becoming a usual interview question.  There are a lot of individuals who go to an interview and know nothing about the employer, what the employer needs, or even the problems that the employer is having.  It is extremely important to research the company and see what types of issues they may be having, what their mission or goals are, or some of their most recent successes have been.  It is always good to reference things that the company has received Kudos for.  In the golden age of the internet you can go to most employer’s web sites and research, gather information and even see the problems they might have experienced.  Being a problem solver that comes in with their solution to a possible problem the employer is or might be having is a great way to stand out.
4.      One great way to prepare for an interview is to Google “how to answer Interview Questions”.  Practicing how you would answer an interview question helps you feel more relaxed during the interview and it allows you to make some great answers just flow instead of feeling rehearsed or not really what you think.  Employers can tell when you are trying to tell them what you think they want to hear.  Be relaxed and confident without being cocky.  Remember interview questions might have a hidden question underneath.  “Tell me about yourself” is one of those questions.  So many people make the mistake of telling about themselves on a personal level.  This question is not for personal information like where you went to school, or how many kids you have, it is about what skills are you going to bring to the company that will make you different from other candidates.  Have a friend mock interview you also to see how they think you did.
5.      Did you know that you can prepare enthusiasm?  As you walk around in your daily life look and see how many people are smiling.  Preparing your enthusiasm will help you look happy and ready to work.  Learn to use both types of smiling.  The mouth smile and the eye smile.  Even if you are having the worst day, make sure that when you are in that interview that you are smiling at everyone, leaning forward and smiling with your eyes.  Remember they say the eyes are the gateway to the soul, well they certainly tell what you are thinking.
6.      Remember the receptionist is the most important person you will run into at an interview.  Being pleasant to everyone, smiling and chatting is a great way to have you remembered. So many people make the mistake of checking in with the front desk, sitting down and looking frightened or anxious.  If someone walks through the lobby make sure you speak to them because you never know if it is a “plant” that wanted to see how you would be to join their team.  Many employers use a “plant” to test the answer to the question “Are you a team player”. If you sit there and do not speak to anyone and everyone that walks through, you might not be a team player.
7.      The worst thing that individuals do to not be prepared at an interview is to not prepare questions for the interviewer.  If you have ever answered the question “Do you have any questions for me”? with “No” then you have shot yourself in the foot with that job.  It is extremely important to have 2-4 prepared questions for the interviewer.  It shows that you are prepared and interested in the company and position.  Now be careful with your questions.  If they have told you that the position is open because the person who had it before moved up in the company, do not ask “Is there room for advancement”?  That shows you were not paying attention.
I hope this information is helpful.  I wish you all the best luck on your interview.  

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