Preparing for Interview | How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

No matter how many times you iron that navy blue suit, you keep finding a wrinkle! That wrinkle threatens to upend your interview as it mocks you with its crinkly wry expression.

Spritz a little water on it, and try again. If not, grab another pair of slacks and your favorite dress shirt, and get ready to turn up the charm and confidence. You’ve got skills to sell because you do what you do so well. Here’s every tip to succeed in preparing for interview victory.

 

Getting to Know the Company and Culture

First things first — you need to know what you’re walking into here. Get to know the company and culture, so the conversation isn’t one way.

  1. The Internet Knows All — Almost Everything

Scour the great wide web for all you can find out about the company, and find real folks to talk to about the company. What are their impressions of the company? Read news releases and articles about the company from multiple sources. Read reviews on Glassdoor from previous interviewees and employees.

Don’t just glance at the company website or scan the social media profiles. Dig deep.

  1. Learn More About Who

Who is the company? What kind of people work for them? Who is your supervisor, and who will make up your team?

Lean into the staff listings and search names to see if you can find articles or blogs by the leaders and staff at the company. Read up, and take notes on what interests you most. You also gain insight into what it means to excel at this company.

  1. Interview the Product

Interview the product before you head right into the meeting. Use and get to know a product the company sells, if you can. Now, you’re entitled to offer feedback and kudos.

  1. Glassdoor Reviews Don’t Dish Everything

Think of Glassdoor as a guide because previous and current employees will all have mixed feelings about their work experience at the company, and some bad reviews aren’t all they’re chalked up to be. The internet will reveal a bad egg, the more you dig. Take it with a grain of salt.

 

Gain Intel On the Interview Before You Go In

Don’t go into a mission — interview — blind. When preparing for interview, the first step is finding out what you’re getting yourself into before you show up.

  1. Call in Advance for an Interviewer List

Know who will interview you and other significant employees you will meet along the way, such as the person giving you the tour but not interviewing you.

Use your sleuthing skills to learn more about them, and prepare questions for each interviewer to hone in on a common interest or relevant topic, such as their focus at the company.

  1. Ask About the Interview Format

This is one of the questions you can – and should – ask before the interview.

Know the interview types you’ll participate in since many companies offer different interview structures. You may do a series of single interviews or a group interview. You may get interviewed by your team and then a leadership staff. You may have to take a test.

Take time to familiarize yourself with the style they choose.

 

Kiss the Evil Wrinkle Goodbye — Selecting Your Perfect Interview Outfit

It’s time to iron out your professional fashion woes. Here’s how to select your perfect interview outfit.

  1. Innovate the Dress Code

Is the company more traditional or eclectic? Consider who you will meet and the environment you’ll be in — is the company tour more of a hike? Don’t be afraid to ask: “Should I arrive in a suit, or does the company prefer a more casual style?”

While the culture may thrive on a casual vibe, you should still dress up a little more for your interview. For staunch business attire, visit a tailor to get the best cut for you. For men, style up with cuff links, snazzy shoes and a tie. Use a pop of color underneath darker clothes, or let fun patterns and colors show only in your accents. Build on basics.

  1. Polish and Pamper

Once you select your innovated interview attire, clean, press and tailor it to your perfect, professional fit. Clean your nails. Keep makeup light. One statement piece of jewelry only, please. Nix loose hems and thread. Shine your shoes. The details factor into your first impression, so take the time to pamper yourself and destress, too.

 

Printing and Pre-Game Preparation

You have so much paper and no idea what to do with it all. Calm down and focus on printing what you need with these pre-game preparation tips.

  1. Five Copy Resume Rule

Remember your interview list? Good. Print out a copy of your resume for each interviewer, with an extra copy or two, just in case. Regardless, a good rule of thumb is to print five copies of your resume.

  1. Make an Interview Survival Kit

Time to make a survival kit. It should hold the everyday essentials and interview musts, such as a notepad and resumes. Printed directions with parking notes are helpful in the event your GPS doesn’t work.

Don’t forget a stain stick and breath mints and a water for the ride. Organize your purse or briefcase, but leave what you can in the car.

  1. Review Your Career Timeline

Don’t stress about memorizing verbatim answers or rehearsing questions too much. Know your story by reviewing your career timeline focusing on characters and setting. You tell your story well on paper, but you need to translate that into real life. Who knows you better than yourself?

  1. Study Early and Review Briefly Late

Got technical tests to pass or questions to answer? Prepare early on, and limit the time you spend crunching beforehand. Limit reviews to an hour or two in the days leading up to your interview. You’ll stress less.

  1. Plan to Stall in Advance

You will struggle to answer at least one question. What’s your go-to phrase to skip by dead air and gain more time? Part of it is breathing and pacing yourself — don’t be a nervous talker. Say, “That’s a great question. Here are my thoughts…” If you need time to answer, just say so.

  1. Make a Cheat Sheet

Make a list of what you’ll need to remember for your interview. Colored pens work wonders for organization. Put a copy where you’ll find it, such as on your steering wheel or your fridge. Slip one into your survival kit.

  1. Sleep

Shut those weary eyes to let your brain process all of that information you reviewed. Let your mind ease itself from stress. Don’t go to the interview with bags under your eyes and your lips resembling that wrinkle in your once trusty navy blue suit.

 

Now, stride into that interview with confidence. Follow these tips when preparing for interview success to make your best first impression and get the call you’ve been waiting for.

 

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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