Interview Preparation Guide.
A day or two before an interview you should take the time to really think about how you want the interview to go, what impression you want to leave on the employer and what unique pitch you will use to stand out from other applicants. Equally important, think about what items on your resume you do not want to spend a lot of time on and come up with ways to transition from that particular experience to others that you would like to highlight more.
Next, throughly research the employer, and when possible, the position. Be sure to ask for at least a title, if not a detailed description of exactly what position they are interviewing you for. Then list the 3 or 4 strong qualifications that you bring to the table. This way, you know going in what they are looking for and why you are a good fit.
There is a time and a place for name dropping, and interviewing is one of them. Review any names or details that could be helpful to reference during your discussion. If you are the networking type, go back through your PDA and find the exact date of the dinner party where you met the person who passed along your resume. If you used a job search engine, recall what day you first saw the advertisement and perhaps the detail that helped the posting stand out. If the organization reached out to you, recall the Human Resources contact who first gave you the call or e-mail. It never hurts to compliment their friendly conduct, and helps create a positive, thoughtful persona.
From here the old adage rings true: “Practice makes perfect.” Make a list of questions that you think the employer might ask. Think through how you would want to answer them. Your goal is to leave the ideal impression, highlighting your best selling points and avoiding weaker aspects of your experience. Typing this out (and saving it) can help you not just prepare for this interview, but all future interviews as well (including your year end review!)
Once you have come up with some sample questions, ask a trusted friend to help you role play through a few of them randomly. The employer ultimately controls the flow of an interview and role playing can help prepare you to bounce between subjects and think quickly. Your friend may also be able to point out any nervous quirks you might have or important details that you are leaving out.
The night before the interview, after you have crafted your pitch and researched the employer, make sure to print out directions to the office. Pick out your clothes, relax with a book and get to bed early. In the morning, eat a non-offensive breakfast to hold you over and make sure to drink your coffee. It is show time