Preparing For Your Interview

First Impressions can make or break the interview. It is amazing how many people show up to their interviews without preparing. Would you accept a speaking engagement without first practicing? Then why would you head to an interview that could change the course of your career without some prior research and practice?

Make sure to go through this checklist prior to your interview:

Self-Assessment questions

  • Are you serious about making a career change?
  • Can you honestly visualize resigning from your current position? (See “Dealing With Counteroffers”) What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your short and long-term goals? Evaluate yourself in terms of the position you seek? Formulate responses by asking the question: “What value can I bring to this role and company?”

Research the Company

  • Ask your peers or do an online search, asking relevant questions about market trends and other issues facing the industry and the Company you are interviewing with.
  • Being aware will allow you to show in depth knowledge and share the value that you bring for the company.

Know the company’s products and services.

  • Be prepared to tell the interviewer why their company is attractive to you.
  • Share why you are a good fit for this role.

What to bring with you:

  • References – Bring with you a list of three former supervisors who are familiar with your work. Include their name and company as well as home and work phone numbers. Always consult with references for their approval and to ensure that their remarks are positive.
  • Resume – Review your resume thoroughly and be prepared to discuss all points. Always bring a resume copy identical to the one supplied to the interviewer. Bring along samples of your work, if possible. Never discuss or show proprietary information.
  • Other Items – Bring a folder and pen to the interview to jot down notes. Prepare and review the questions you may have. Bring along your recruiter’s phone number to give immediate feedback after the interview.

Arrival at the Interview

  • Be on time – Arrive no earlier than fifteen minutes before the interview (but no later than five minutes prior to the interview). Allow adequate time for traffic, parking lot and a last minute appearance check. If possible, scout out the location the day before the interview to avoid last minute problems.
  • With Smart phones and GPS there is no excuse for being late.
  • Review your notes and go in with confidence. If asked, complete an application. Complete the application in full and leave no blanks. Do not write “see resume” as a response to any application question. Respond to “expected salary” questions as “open” or “negotiable” and “current salary” questions truthfully. List references if requested. Your recruiter’s name should be your response to any “referred by” questions.

Finally, make sure to write a compelling follow-up letter. Learn more in our “Post-interview follow up” blog:

Click here to stay up to date on our interview tips and Job Alerts.