You make an impression on a prospective employer well before you walk in to your interview. Use these six tips to set yourself up for success before you enter that important meeting.
Phone Etiquette You never know who is on the other end of the phone – it could be a future boss or colleague. Answer phone calls with a kind word and your name. For example ‘Hello, this is Maria’ or ‘Good afternoon, Maria speaking.’ This will create ease with the caller right away. Do not answer the phone if you are unable to talk or access your calendar to schedule a meeting. You do not want to leave the impression of being harried or disorganized. If you are tied up when the call comes in, it is much better to have your voicemail receive the call. This way you can call back when you are in a position to talk and put your best foot forward. Ensure that you have a professional voicemail message and a mailbox that is not full.
Research Take the time to research a company and those interviewing you. Learn as much as you can about the company’s culture, product and reputation. This means going beyond the company website to sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed, as well as social media and news outlets. Don’t be caught off guard when someone asks you what you know about the company.
Preparation Tell me about yourself. Why are you looking for a new job? What are your greatest strengths? What are you working to improve? These are just a few common interview questions. Take some time to prepare stories to answer these questions as well as other questions that might be applicable to your new role. It isn’t necessary to memorize your answers, but organize them into bullet points so that you can easily recall the information during the interview. Like your resume, your answers should include numbers, percentages and the results you achieved. Also, remember to prepare a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview.
Organization On the day of your interview, be sure that you have all necessary items easily accessible to you. Pack at least four copies of your resume, a list of references, two pens and a notebook. Consider buying a portfolio to keep these items neat and organized. Having to look for a pen, or worse, not having one, can make you appear disorganized and cause you to feel rattled before the interview even begins.
Arrival Time Plan to arrive at the location 30 minutes before your scheduled interview and enter the offices 10 to 15 minutes before your interview. Arriving more than 15 minutes before your interview can make your host feel pressure to start the meeting early, so have a cup of coffee or get a breath of fresh air while you wait. This ensures that even if traffic or other circumstances delay your arrival, you’ll still be on time for the meeting.
Empowerment Exercise Since you’ve arrived with plenty of time to spare, take a moment to ensure that you are feeling your most confident. Use this time to write down your proudest accomplishments and biggest achievements. This will put you in a positive frame of mind when the interview starts. You could also take a cue from Amy Cuddy and strike a high-power pose to signal that you’re ready to take on anything!
These tips will allow you to put your best foot forward from the first interaction you have with a prospective employer. Use these six tips to prepare for that important interview and keep an eye out for next month’s article - Your Perfect Interview.