Interviewing Skills
Preparing for Your Interview

By: Joe Kenny

Your resume has successfully done its job – now you have an interview.

The key to successful interviewing is preparation and perspective. From your perspective, you are trying to assess whether this job is right for you and you are trying to receive an offer. From the interviewer’s perspective, he/she is trying to assess which candidate has the experience and qualifications for the position and will add the most positive influence to their team. You need to understand these perspectives and prepare yourself accordingly for the interview.

Be Prepared, Be Informed
Do your homework and learn as much as you can about the company and the interviewer. Make sure you know who you will be interviewing with and what their positions are in the company. Make sure you know the company, its products or services and how they generate revenue, the different divisions and locations, its competitors and its history. The internet is a tremendous source of information.

Dress Conservatively and Professionally
It is always a good rule of thumb to dress as your interviewers would. Also it is a good rule to err on the side of conservative dress. Make sure that you and your clothes are neat and clean. Make sure your shoes are polished. Remember to minimize jewelry, accessories, perfume, aftershave and makeup. Remove visible body piercings and cover tattoos. From a dress perspective, the goal is to blend in so that the interviewers are focused on your skills and your character, not your appearance.

Walk in 5 Minutes Early
Remember that your interviewer is on a tight schedule, so be on time, not early and definitely not late. Plan to arrive 15 – 30 minutes early, so that if you encounter any unexpected traffic you will still be on time. If you do arrive early, relax and then check in with the receptionist 5 minutes prior to the interview.

Bring Copies of Your Resume
The interviewers may already have a copy of your resume, but bring copies just in case.

Be Positive
Your attitude can make a huge difference in the selection process. Make sure you speak about yourself, your former employers and former managers in a positive light. Look for the good to talk about and avoid the negative.

Be Flexible
The only constant is change, therefore hiring managers look for flexibility. The more flexible you are, the more valuable you become to that manager.

Listen Carefully
It is very important to listen carefully to the questions being asked. After the interviewer has asked their questions, answer it directly and provide details. Be genuine in your responses and avoid bringing up information or stories that are not relevant.

Ask Thoughtful Questions
Show the interviewer your interest in the company and the position. Draft three to five questions that will help you determine if this position is right for you. Remember, do not ask any questions related to compensation or benefits at this time.

Stay Relevant
Highlight your work and personal experiences that directly relate to the company and the position. Do not talk about your religious affiliations, your political beliefs or personal details that are not relevant to your ability to perform the position responsibilities.

Prepare References
Be prepared to provide a list of three employment references that includes the person’s name, job title, their work relationship to you and a contact phone number. Make sure that all the people you list are aware that you are using them as a reference and they are willing to speak highly of you.