How to Prepare for an Interview
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By now you, know why I have been focusing so much on interviews and such. While I started the Women in the Workplace series back when I still had a job, it has been kind of therapeutic for me to write about corporate America, while still being unemployed. I first told you I lost my job here. I plan to write more on the topic of being let go and employee rights, but will probably wait a little bit. Two months after the fact and it is still raw. Well… there might be a scab forming, buuut yeah. I digress…
I studied Apparel Merchandising in college, but also had a business minor. I was able to take things like business writing that really prepared me for interviews, but the fashion department also did an amazing job preparing me. Little things here and there that set you apart make all the difference.
Here are some things that I always do to prep for my interviews, aka things I’m doing right now. Hah!
IN PERSON INTERVIEWS
Practice Questions. Behavioral questions are wonderful to practice. (For example: Name a time when you had a difficult issue to address and how you resolved it. Or Describe a time when people disagreed with you, but you moved forward anyway. Some are positive though, for instance share an example of a success.) You should have some examples picked out and practiced, so you can think on your toes. People, especially HR not only notice what you’re saying, but if you have these instances, as they are pretty much gimmie questions, when prepared for. Be sure to have questions to ask them too! Most interviewers allow time for you to have questions as well. You should want to get these answers from them too! I wrote a whole post on questions to ask during your interview here.
Research Company. You should know the key parts about the company at the very least. One of my favorite things to do find podcasts interviewing the founder or CEO. I also like to look at things like stock prices. Even if I know a lot about a company, I always brush up on my knowledge and google it the day of, just to stay current with the news. Side note - there was an interview I recently had where I knew of the company, but their actual website was down because they were re-doing it. It was a wholesale company, so I couldn’t really find out any information on them. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but they actually asked specific questions where a website would have been helpful. I could have looked harder a suppose, but I honestly don’t know where I could have found the information. I should have prepared a little sooner and asked for a pdf of FAQ on the company, prior to taking the interview. I don’t think ti was a good fit anyway, but I was not prepared as I usually am for these types of things and I believe it showed.
Look Up Interviewers. I LOVE doing this because it allows me to put a name to a face. It also allows me to recognize people as I meet them, so I am more apt to remember their name anddd it puts me at ease. If you don’t know who all you are interviewing with, at least look up the person you are communicating with, then just find the company on LinkedIn and glance over their C-Suite for sure, and other employees if you have time.
Preview Route. I’m directionally challenged, so I like to know how I am getting somewhere at least a day before the interview. I also look at things like parking options. I look at these things and ask clarifying questions regarding where to go, park, etc to my contact at the company in advance, so I am less apt to get confused day of.
Prepare Items To Bring. Have your resume and whatever else you bring, ready. I like to put my stuff by the door so I can’t miss it on the way out. Even better, sometimes I secure the items in my car before go-time as well. I like to have a couple extra copies of my resume, in addition to one per interviewer. You never know who you will speak to or who might pop in and it is better to have an extra than not. Some interviews require identification like passports and such, so keep that in mind. I forgot mine to one and Nick had to bring it to me. I personally have a leather bound folder with a pocket and a notepad that I like to bring. It also has a spot for business cards, which I love.
Choose Outfit. Very important! I lay this out at least the night before. I hate when I can’t find something I want to wear and I’m in a rush. If you need some help with what to wear, I wrote a whole post on what to wear to an interview here.
Consider Meal Time. I snack a lot, so I consider the time of the interview and make sure I’m not hungry. There is nothing worse than your stomach rumbling during an interview!! Plus being hungry often distracts me. I also always have a water bottle on hand, in case my throat gets dry. It also gives you something to do with your hands during your interview. Hah!
Write Thank You Note. I like to pre-write some of my note, but I don’t finish it until it Is over. I write something generic about thank you for your time, but always try to add something specific in like a topic you discussed or “have a nice trip” if they are about to head out. I personally like to mail mine, so I stop by the post office on the way home, but you can also drop it off at the front desk before you leave the location, too!
Block off Time. Block off your work calendar, so conflicting meetings won’t be scheduled. This is good practice too if you have to leave during the day for an interview vs coming in late or leaving early. Being at home, I just make sure I tell Nick and my family when I’m going to be on a call, so they won’t try to contact me during it.
Consider Location. If you have to take it at your current job, be sure to book a room for yourself or make plans to head to your car. If you do it outside, just be sure you’re not in a place people frequent or could hear you interviewing.
Be Ready. You never know if someone is going to try to call early (or late for that matter), but either way it does happen. I like to be ready for the call at least 5 minutes early, so I’m not frazzled before the interview even begins! Also be sure you know how they will be calling you. If it is something you haven’t used before like Zoom, What’s App, Skype, etc logon and be ready for it, so you aren’t struggling to get into the meeting!
Silence Devices. This is kind of self explanatory, but silence your phone and computer, so the group text doesn’t blow up your phone on a call. Personally, I like to use the Do Not Disturb feature. And of course do this for your in person interview too! Keep your watch in mind as well, if you have an Apple watch. Buzzing on your wrist is also a distraction.
Utensils Prepped. I prefer to have a notepad and pen with a glass of water by my side while taking these calls. I pre-write questions and such before the interview, so I’m ready. I also have designated notes section too. (I do this for an in person interview as well!)
I’ve received several DM from you that you enjoy this type of content, which I LOVE. That’s the main reason I started this job… to help people! If you have a favorite interview tip that I left off, let me know in the comments below. I need all the help I can get!
P.S. I’ve worn this jumpsuit several times on the blog now! First on Style for Every Body, then when we were in Malibu. I wanted to share it again, as this is how I would style it to transition it to fall. It also comes in more fall friendly colors, if that is more what you prefer!
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