Congratulations on getting your foot in the door. Now all you have to do is spend a short amount of time with your potential employer and not screw up.
Step 1 – Suit-Up!
There is a lot of advice available on what to wear for an interview. They tell you everything from what colour or brand of suit to wear to how to knot your tie. Most of this information is bull.
Fact: A Windsor Knot does not make you look more confident. It makes you look like you’re wearing a tie with a Windsor Knot.
The best advice I’ve heard is “dress like you already work there.” Find out what the other employees are wearing and dress accordingly. If the company has a laid-back dress code and all of the executives wear jeans and blazers, following suit could make them feel as though you already belong there. It’s also possible that they will expect you to be a little more polished at the interview and count the jeans as a strike against you. (I bet you thought I was going to give you real advice for a second, huh?)
Ladies… It doesn’t matter how big or small they are. You still MUST cover them up. Even the women in the room are staring at them…fail!
Most advice will tell you to wear something conservative with neutral colors. This is your safest bet, as the employer will focus more on what you have to say than your appearance. However, a friend of mine landed a sales position with a Fortune 500 company after showing up to the interview with purple streaks in her hair. The employer thought it showed she had spunk (I’m sure she said a couple things in the interview to lead them to believe that as well).
Step 2 – Do a Little Homework
Learn about the company you are interviewing for. Get a little history and a general working knowledge of what they do. Focus specifically on the position you have applied for. They will want to know why you are the perfect fit for that position. You want to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the industry you work in, while being as specific to the position as possible. Let’s pretend you’re applying to a government position. Learn about the branch, it's function, and be able to talk a little about the legislation they would use most often.
The job ad will have listed both technical skills and behavioural competencies. Be prepared to talk about your past experience/current proficiency with these technical skills.
Example: Must be proficient with Microsoft Excel
“In my last position, I was required to create and maintain a database of all employee vacation and sick time in an excel spreadsheet that calculated monthly totals and averages. I also took an Operations Management course where I learned to solve complex mathematical functions using Excel’s Solver function.”
Human Resources is going through a phase where everyone thinks Behavioural Event Interview Questions are pretty much the best thing ever. To prepare for these types of questions look at all of the competencies listed in the job ad and think of examples of times when you exhibited those competencies.
Step 3 - Stay Positive
Keep the tone on the positive side. Don't bash old bosses or companies. Keep your answers positive too. If someone asks you how you respond to change in the workplace, they are most likely looking for someone who would respond positively to change. Your answer should not include the fact that you are able to adapt, but don't like to (It sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised).
Step 4 – Don’t Not Prepare
Yeah it’s a double negative….no I don’t care!
If you received any communication prior to the interview, read it carefully and follow any instructions. Failure to do so will result in the recruiter raising one eyebrow and bein all “are you serious?” It will enrage them to a point that will make them want you to fail miserably.
Step 5 – Don’t Stress
Sure your entire future could be decided by this one short meeting, but don’t worry about it. It’s the interviewer’s job to make you feel comfortable, and help you explain how you qualify for the position. When you’re not comfortable, it makes the rest of the room uncomfortable. This makes the interview awkward for everyone. You don’t want the recruiter to be glad the interview is over.