So, you received a call back for an in-person interview. Now what? The week leading up to the in-person interview probably deserves more effort and preparation than any other portion of the job search process. Here's a step-by-step guide on preparing for an interview.
The Day You Are Offered The Interview
These are some things you should do immediately after getting an interview:
Respond promptly - Waiting to respond may send a message that you're not interested (bad!) or have poor follow-up (also bad!). Respond promptly, thank the employer for the opportunity, and express your excitement without being over the top.
Ask about logistics - Aside from nailing down the location, it's generally acceptable to ask about the company's dress code and the names of those you'll be interviewing with. Avoid asking questions that you (or Google) can answer yourself (e.g. directions).
Clear your schedule - If you're currently employed or have other commitments, make sure the appropriate people know you will not be available on the day of your interview.
The Week Before The Interview
Your interview is a week away! Get prepared by doing the following:
Research the company - Even if you did this before applying for the job (which you should have!), it's time to revisit the company website, its blog and social media accounts, and recent news articles.
Research the hiring managers - If you know who the interviewers are, do a little research. Look for them on the company's team page and on online networks like LinkedIn. Try to get a feel for who the interviewers are and for the type of person the company employs.
Decide what to wear to the interview - Don't wait until the night before. Try on your interview outfit, ask others for their opinion, and make sure you don't need a trip to the dry cleaner or cobbler.
The Day Before The Interview
In order to be completely prepared for your interview, make sure to do these things the day before:
Review the job posting - It will be far easier to tailor your interview answers if the job description is fresh in your mind.
Practice answering common interview questions - There are certain questions you can expect to be asked during a job interview. Look up the generic ones as well as ones specific to your industry, then rehearse them with a friend, family member, or patient pet.
Prepare questions for the employer - At the end of an interview, you will be given the opportunity to ask questions. It's an important part of the interview and the questions you ask could make or break your chances of landing the job offer, so put some serious thought into them.
Map the directions - One of the last things you want to do is be late for your interview. Find how long it should take you to get there, then give yourself plenty of extra time in case you get lost, stuck in traffic, or detoured.
Gather your day-of materials - Even if the hiring manager doesn't ask, it's common practice to bring enough copies of your resume for yourself and for each of the interviewers. You should also bring a pen and paper to take notes, as well as anything else specifically requested by the employer. Other things to consider include mints, grooming materials, money for parking, and a backup interview outfit (just in case you spill your Starbucks all over your lap).
Do the obvious things - Go to bed at a reasonable hour and set at least one alarm.
Think positively - Visualizing a positive outcome has a surprising impact on real-life performance. Think about past successes and envision, in detail, a stellar interview in your mind.
What steps do you take when preparing for an interview?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.