7-Step Checklist Before the Job Interview
By decreasing the jitters BEFORE your interview, you can increase your confidence DURING the interview. Getting nervous just before or during an interview is natural, but there are specific actions you can take to decrease, if not eliminate it. Here is a checklist of 7 important actions you can accomplish before any interview you walk into.
1. Tell stories instead. When it comes to answering interview questions, forget trying to memorize scripted answers that you probably read somewhere. Instead, focus on answering the questions in a way that makes sense to you and that showcases your experience and skills. Do this by developing your stories. By this I mean, you'll develop stories around specific examples of your career where you have an opportunity to tell how you either made money or saved money for your current or previous company; you faced a crisis or two in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it; you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was; you had to deal with stress in your career; and many other stories revolving around typical interview questions that you can always expect.
Interviewers want to know more about who you are and telling small stories like this is an excellent way to do this. You will stand out from the crowd and will be remembered. You will personalize yourself. Another benefit is that you won't have to worry about memorizing answers to stock questions. Just be yourself and let your story shine through. If you can have about 5 to 7 good little stories of about 30 to 90 seconds each, your confidence will rise tremendously for any interview you have.
2. Research the company first. Do company research well in advance so that you can relax before the interview rather than scrambling to get ready at the last minute. This also reduces the possibility of stupid and embarrassing questions on your part. You should know full well what products or services the company is in the business of providing. You should know their size, their annual revenues (if they are a public company), what the title and functions of the job are, and the name and title of the interviewer and his/her role in the hiring process.
3. Dress the part. Plan ahead to wear comfortable clothing that suits this type of interview. The usual mode these days is business attire. That could mean different things to different companies. If you're not sure, call ahead to either your interviewer or the HR department and ask. When in doubt, dress more conservatively. You want to fit in and not feel self conscious about your clothing choice during the interview.
4. Have their contact info. Make sure you have the name and number of a contact person, preferably the person you'll be meeting with. Stuff happens and when it does you'll want to keep them informed of delays that may be beyond your control.
5. Get there early. Log on to Mapquest® and get directions if you're not sure of their exact location. You want to arrive well in advance so that you can get there a little early, shift gears and collect your thoughts before you walk in.
6. Got your resume? Remember to bring copies of your resume with you. Bring one for yourself, one for your interviewer and perhaps a spare one or two just in case. You might want to refer to your resume during the interview and having a copy in front of you can add to your sense of security. If there are any other items you need, such as a portfolio, bring these as well.
7. Now relax. Finally, don't place undue pressure on yourself. This is just one interview. It's not "do or die". The last emotion you want to project is one of neediness or desperation because you aren't either. Once you walk into the interview, your prep work has been done and you can feel confident about letting the chips fall where they may. The magic of doing your best means doing all your preparation beforehand so you can go into the interview relaxed and calm. Here's to your Job Search Success!!