Career Corner, Part I: How to Prepare For Your Interview Performance

Career Corner, Part I: How to Prepare For Your Interview Performance | Positively Smitten

Career Corner, Part I: How to Prepare For Your Interview Performance | Positively Smitten

They say finding a job is a full-time job. But some of us are also putting in overtime and still not getting the call.

It’s not an easy job market out there, that’s for sure. I’ve had over a dozen interviews in my youngish career. These have included phone interviews, in-person interviews with one person, in-person interviews with five people, in-person interviews that are broken into segments. (Deep breath here for dramatic effect.) I’ve taken personality tests and writing tests, and prepared glamorous documents and displays, all in the name of finding a job.

So when it comes to your “big day” (not talking about your wedding day…the other “big day” – your interview, your shining moment, your performance), you already know what to wear and how to act, duh. And you probably know that in order not to get swallowed alive by the competition you have to be unforgettable in some way (make them laugh; bring examples of your best work even if they don’t ask for it; have great hair – whatever). While I can’t personally convince the hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate (though I guarantee you are!), what I can do is give you a few of my pre-interview tips that have never ever left me feeling ill-prepared or at a loss for words when they ask me “what do you know about our company?”

These are my absolute best tips to sound like you know your stuff

Study Their Site
Read everything on the website to familiarize yourself with as much as you can about the company. And I mean everything. It’s not enough to read the Mission Statement and About Us. Read their newsletter, their new products, their history and every other tab. This will take some time, but you want to be able to have a casual conversation about the company once you’re done. Quiz yourself by calling your mom, or talking to your boyfriend or cat about the company. Be able to explain what they do, how they got their start, what makes them different and how the position you are applying for fits into the gist of their operations. You’ll probably be asked to do this on your “big day.” Bonus: I’ve been able to casually drop in bits and pieces of what I know about the company during other questions of the interview. It knocks their socks off. Sounding prepared is never a bad thing. If you want the job bad enough, you’ll do this step and do it well.

Find Them on Facebook
Once you find out who will be interviewing you (they’ll let you know in advance, and if they don’t, don’t hesitate to ask), find each of these people on Facebook or LinkedIn. No, this is not to stalk them…creepy. It’s to see what they look like so you can put a face to the name. You know that old tip that when you shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye and call them by their name? Well, when you’re interviewed by six people at the same time, and you only are just seeing them for the first time, and you can’t keep six names straight, you’ve smoked the competition if you can address everyone individually during the interview with their name. People love to hear their own name. The only way you’ll be able to memorize and feel confident with this is to feel like you’ve seen them before, even if it’s jut in their profile pic.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Prepare all of this and whatever else you plan to do several days in advance so that the night before you are able to just relax. The more regular your routine is right before your “big day”, the more calm and confident you’ll be. Get a good night’s sleep and prepare lightly in the morning.

Summer food, rose colored fish steak in a wine marinade

Eat Brain Food
To go the extra step, eating brain food the night and morning before will help you be alert and recall quickly what year the company was founded when they ask. Eggs and fish are my brain food that boost memory and keep me sharp. I’ll have a healthy salmon dinner the night before, and then a filling, balanced egg sandwich and orange juice in the morning or leftover salmon on toast. I suggest the same, or whatever meal makes you feel well-balanced.

Follow these tips and you’ll feel super prepared, which is half the battle. I may have not gotten every job I applied for, but I always walked out feeling on top of the world.
Good luck!

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