Even if you have less than a day before your job interview, you can outshine the competition with a little interview preparation. There are just certain things you need to put in place rather than worry yourself.
Monster Career gives you points to ponder on:
Conduct basic interview research
To prepare for an interview, find out as much as you can beforehand. Call the person who scheduled your interview and ask:
Who will you be talking to? Will you meet the manager you will probably work for, or will you just talk to HR? What are the interviewer’s expectations? What is the dress code? Dress better than suggested. Most times, it is best to wear a professional suit.
Get directions to the office. Plan to leave early. Keep a phone number to call if you get stuck on the bus or in traffic. If you arrive late and stressed, the interview will not go well.
If you don’t have a detailed job description, ask for one.
Think of some stories
Be ready to answer typical interview questions with a story about yourself. To prepare, write down and memorize three achievement stories. Tell about times you have really felt proud of an achievement at work or school. These stories demonstrate all those hard-to-measure qualities like judgment, initiative, teamwork or leadership. Wherever possible, quantify what you have done, e.g., “increased sales by 20 percent,” “cut customer call waiting time in half,” “streamlined delivery so that most customers had their job done in two days.”
By the way, non-work achievement stories are good too; if you volunteered for an organisation, write down a time you overcame a big challenge or a crisis there.
Research the company:
Before you go on a job interview, it is important to find out as much as you can about the company. That way you will be prepared both to answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions. You will also be able to find out whether the company and the company culture are a good fit for you.
Take some time, in advance, to use the Internet to discover as much information as you can about the company.
Spend time, as well, tapping into your network to see who you know who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates.
Here is how to research a company:
Visit the company website
Visit the company website, review the company mission statement and company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.
LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. Take a look at your interviewer’s profile to get insight into their job and their background.
Use other social media platforms
Check Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Like or follow the company to get updates. You will find information you may not have found otherwise.
Explore your connections
If you have a connection that will help you find inside information, use it. Do you know someone who works there? Ask them if they can help you.
Pick your outfit, and go to bed early
Lay out your interview outfit the night before, get a good night’s rest, and always get an early start. The last thing you want is to waste all of your interview preparation by arriving flustered and panicked because you couldn’t find a parking space.
An important part of interview preparation is to take the time to analyse the job posting, or job description, if you have it. As you review the job post, consider what the company is seeking in a candidate.
Make a list of the skills, knowledge, and professional and personal qualities that are required by the employer and are critical for success in the job.
Work on answers to the most common interview questions. The “tell me about yourself” or “talk me through your CV” questions are normally asked to ease you in, so make sure you’re ready for them.
Have a short, two or three minute response that you can give comfortably. Start with a strong statement, such as: “I am a project manager with 15 years’ experience of technology projects in the media sector.” Then follow this with a summarised chronological story showing how you got to your current career position.
Read carefully through the job and person specification, identifying your experiences that demonstrate the skills or knowledge gained. Again, practise articulating each one. Writing down an answer is a good way to do this – reading it aloud, recording yourself or having a mock interview is even better.