I remember my mother nagging me for days before my first professional job interview to “prepare.” Prepare for what? They are just going to ask me questions about myself and I should be able to answer those. Boy was I ever wrong! Now after many years as a corporate recruiter I can tell you that it is absolutely evident if a candidate has prepared or not, and if the answer is the latter I can almost guarantee they won’t be successful.
1. Eat Breakfast. This may sound silly but despite the nerves you are feeling telling you not to eat you need to get something down. Not only will food help you to have energy and think straight during your interview, it will eliminate the possibility of awkward stomach growls!
2. Rehearse your answers to the most common questions. There are standard questions you most certainly will get asked: Tell me about yourself. What are your strengths/weaknesses? Why are you looking to leave your current employer? Think about these questions ahead of time and have some general answers prepared.
3. Create a scenario bank. The latest trend in interviewing is behavioural based interview questions. You know the ones that start with “Tell me about a time when…” The whole idea is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance. Have concrete (and true!) work-related experiences ready at your fingertips that can be used based on the type of situation question.
4. Do your research! It is vital that you understand the brand of the company where you are interviewing, as well as their main products or services, key stakeholders and the direction that the company is headed. Having this understanding will not only help you if asked directly what you know about the company, but can also help to focus answers to other questions so that you can demonstrate how your skills and abilities will help the company.
5. Prepare a few questions. At the end of the interview it will be your turn to ask the questions. Come prepared with thoughtful questions about the company or the position. Candidates without questions come across as lacking commitment or interest.
6. Look fabulous! Pick an outfit that is professional and that you feel comfortable and confident in (it will show!). Try it on at least the day before and lay it out since chances are you will probably stay up late rehearsing/worrying and you may be in a rush the next morning.
7. Pump yourself up! Get up early and workout, listen to your favourite song in the car, or give yourself a pep talk – whatever works for you to go into the interview with optimal energy and confidence! You got this!
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