The Last Interview I Had Was…Hmmm

You’ve been invited to interview – nice!  Now what?  If it’s been a while since you’ve sat in the hot seat, excitement can quickly turn into anxiety, especially if you don’t have much time to brush up.

No worries!  Here’s how to prepare in under two hours:

  • 30 minutes: Study the product (aka, you!). This may seem like a no-brainer since, hey, who knows YOU better than you? Here’s a quick test: What are your top three strengths as related to the value they provide to your profession?  If you can’t answer this in less than 10 seconds (and most can’t), you have some work to do. Review your resume, scan old performance appraisals, recall achievements you’re proud of, then map out how these skills and experiences solve your Interviewee’s biggest challenges.
  • 40 minutes: Google!  It’s very obvious to Recruiters when someone isn’t prepared. You can’t know everything about the company, but if you can find it on Google (including a scan of the Interviewer’s LinkedIn Profile), it shows you care about the opportunity and the Hirer’s time.  Assuming your Linked In Profile is already in good shape, Google yourself so there are no surprises and clean up your Facebook if needed. Lastly, do a quick salary search on Glassdoor or Salary.com.  While you shouldn’t negotiate in a first interview, they’ll likely be interested in knowing your ballpark.  Be ready.
  • 40 minutes: Practice. This is how you’ll see how prepared you are (or not).  Ask someone to mock interview you (Smartphone video selfies work in a pinch) by asking common questions (e.g., “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your strengths/weaknesses?”, “Describe a time when you’ve…,” “Why do you want this job?”) and respond as if you’re actually interviewing.  Notice where you stumble, jot down where you need to find better examples, and then practice again. The goal is not to be a robot, but rather to rehearse so the topics and accomplishments you wish to relay in the interview are top of mind when you’re on the spot.
  • 10 minutes: Handle the easy stuff.  Set the GPS, know where you’ll park, try on your suit, print copies of your resume, pack your briefcase (paper, pens, mints), buff your shoes, and plan to arrive early. Interviews are stressful enough without worrying about getting lost.

Lastly, on the way to the interview spend a few minutes putting things into perspective. If you’ve thoughtfully completed these steps, the rest comes down to factors likely beyond your control. So, breathe deeply and do your best.

Happy hunting!

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