How to Prepare for an Interview
Candidate Interview Protocol:
Bringing Your "A" Game to the Interview
By: Enrique Washington
The time spent preparing for an interview is as important as the time invested in getting the interview. To get to the interview stage, you have applied or been recruited and likely participated in the beginning stages of a hiring process. As a result, your interest level in the position has increased and the organization has become more interested in you as a candidate. What can you do to make sure you put your best foot forward - to bring your "A" game and get that job offer?
Of course, there are long lists of things you can do to prepare for an interview and I encourage you to "Google" them. However, for the purpose of this article, I will share some of the most common areas that even seasoned professionals forget.
In preparation for your interview, here are four areas that will help you develop your "A" game. They are as follows:
1. Do your homework. As simple as this may sound, there are still seasoned professionals who do not come prepared for an interview. You should:
a. Understand and research with whom you will be meeting.
b. Understand and know the organization's business at a level that shows you have invested the time to learn about the organization and how it connects to the role it is trying to fill.
c. Leverage your network by speaking with individuals who may have worked for the organization, currently work for the organization and/or who know people who have worked for the organization.
d. Understand the culture down to the level of knowing the appropriate way to dress for the interview.
2. Be prepared to reflect on your experiences. Because the interview can often predict future job performance, you should come prepared to communicate your past and/or current work experiences. The best way to prepare for such questions is to think about your responses by using a simple acronym called S-A-R. S-A-R translates into "your situation," "your actions," and "your result." Remember to be clear and concise!
3. Be present. There is nothing worse than going to a meeting and not being 100% present. Being present will definitely impact the interest level of your potential employer. Come focused on your interviewers and remember to listen. You should prepare thoughtful follow-up questions that you may want to ask your interviewer. Do not forget to silence your cell phone!
4. Be organized. It is very natural for people to come to meetings prepared with the necessary items needed to be effective. So, why should an interview be any different?
You should always come with extra resumes, a notebook and, of course, something to write with.
5. Do your follow-up. Letting people know how much you appreciate their time should never be forgotten. It is important to write a brief thank you note to the individuals with whom you met. To demonstrate how well you listened, you should reference in your note a statement or comment from the interview. Do not forget to confirm your level of interest.
All too often even seasoned professionals make simple mistakes that cost them the job. Seasoned or not, you should always invest time in planning and preparing for your interviews. Bringing your "A" game to an interview will highlight the difference between you and other candidates being considered for an offer. Spending the time, being prepared, being present, being organized, and following up are all part of your "A" game to help get you that offer.