Congratulations! You have overcome the first hurdle of submitting your application and have been selected for an interview. But now what? What is the best way to prepare for an interview? While interviews can be daunting and may require a lot of work, here are a several tips you can use to help you get ready for a big meeting with any company.
What to Know:
- Understand that, first and foremost, an interview does not guarantee you a job offer. The interview is simply your chance to impress a potential employer. The employer reserves the right to offer you the job or decline your application, even if you think you are the perfect candidate. Ultimately, a company will always go with the candidate that best suits what they are looking for in terms of professionalism, personality, and preparedness, so make sure you are ready and well-prepared for your interview.
- Always consult a company’s website and do some research before showing up to your interview. You do not want to be the applicant that does not know anything about the company, especially if another candidate has done their research.
- Your interview begins the moment you apply for a job, whether your application is submitted online or in an office. Your attire, personal hygiene, personality, tone of voice, and body language will play a huge role in how the company considers your application, and your resume needs to be clean of any grammatical or spelling errors. The best thing to remember is to always arrive early, smile, and be both polite and professional, even if you are not in the presence of the person conducting your interview.
- Know what you are applying for. If you do not understand what the position is or what the responsibilities will entail, it will be much harder for you to impress a potential employer.
How to Prepare
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, lay out your clothes, and print off an extra copy of your resume the night before. Eat a healthy breakfast the morning of.
- Get directions to the interview location, consider any traffic that may hinder your commute, and make sure there is plenty of gas in your vehicle.
- Before leaving the house, make sure you smell appropriate but are not wearing too much perfume or cologne. Your hair needs to be brushed or maintained, facial hair trimmed, and clothes washed and ironed. Your appearance says a lot about you and how you will conduct yourself in the workplace. You should dress in business casual clothing, unless the company calls for business professional attire.
- Review any situational questions, and practice your answers. The most common interview questions will ask you to discuss the way you have handled specific situations in the past and will want you to consider your strengths and weaknesses. An employer will, of course, want to know what your strong points are, but they will also want to see if you can critique yourself, so do not skip the weaknesses! You might even want to ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you beforehand.
- Turn your cell phone off, and leave it in your bag or pocket, even when you are waiting in the lobby. Do not use your cell phone while filling out your application or during the interview.
What to Bring:
Each company is a little different in what they want you to bring to an interview, so make sure you ask what is expected of you. At Consumer Advocacy Projects, you will need to bring the following documents with you:
- A driver’s license, state ID, passport, permanent residency card, or work authorization document.
- A social security card or birth certificate.
- A resume and $3 to run your motor vehicle report.
- Your level one fingerprint clearance card and CPR, First Aid, and Prevention and Support certificates.