The interview is a very important part of the job search process. It is, however, only part of the process. The first step of the interview is to prepare for the interview. The key to a successful interview is advance preparation. Solidifying yourself as the best candidate comes after the interview. This interview planner covers the three stages of a successful interview -before, during and after.
Before the Interview
You should not go into an interview without preparing for it. It is important to anticipate what the interviewer will ask and expect. The more prepared, poised and confident you are the smoother the interview will go.
Create a job "shopping list."
Determine what would be the ideal job. This should be your wish list of your expectations. Do not sell yourself short or reduce your expectations to fit a particular job.
Prepare your interview portfolio- include current company literature, current job description (if similar), personal compensation history, extra resumes, references (peers, employers, subordinates, clients, vendors, etc), actual letters of reference, performance appraisals, memos / letters confirming achievements, college or continuing education transcripts, articles written by or about you, text of speeches you have given, non-proprietary designs, drawings and reports you have developed, press releases detailing awards you have won, testimonials about you.
Set up a separate file for each company with whom you interview. Then you can customize accordingly the materials to be presented accordingly.
Prepare and study an interview cheat sheet. List the key elements you wish to discuss. Note key points and questions about the company.
Research the company, industry and the product or service they offer. Keep key facts or points fresh in your mind to utilize in the interview. Know the company philosophy.
Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Study these carefully and prepare your answers accordingly. They interviewer WILL ask if you have any questions. Make them good ones. Allow your questions to give them more insight into your fit for the job.
Prepare a list of questions you expect the interviewer to ask you.
Have a friend do a dry run interview. Test your answers. Sit still and think give answers that present you best. If there are any questionable areas in your background, you need to be well prepared to answer these confidently and with conviction. Do not be defensive.
Purchase correspondence stationery and thank you notes. Have these ready to go for the post interview stage.
Identify your basic interview wardrobe and select an outfit (and back up) that is considered fairly conservative for your field. Consider your accessories carefully, no flashy jewelry or outlandish ties. It's always better to err on the conservative side.
Polish your shoes. Get the heels replaced if necessary. Make sure to wear appropriate business shoes. If expected to visit the plant or manufacturing facilities, check on the shoe regulations and bring and extra pair. This also helps you to look well prepared and efficient.
Get a manicure and haircut.
Call the assistant or secretary to confirm your appointment.
Confirm the address and directions. Know where you are going in advance. If you are unfamiliar with the location, consider a dry run (especially if its during peak traffic times.)
Get a good night's sleep.
Day of the Interview
What to take:
Take your portfolio and extra resumes.
Take the name (s) of the person (s) with whom you are meeting with as well as the assistant you spoke with previously.
Take a comb, tissues, emery board and breath mints. If necessary take an extra pair of reading glasses.
Take a few pens, a tablet and business cards.
Take an appointment book to record follow up interviews and prevent over-booking.
TIP: Do not schedule one interview after another. Interviewing is an exhaustive process you will want time to rejuvenate in between appointments.
What to Do
Be calm. Do not stress or panic. Be confident and remember your preparation. Get organized.
Call the assistant or secretary to confirm your appointment with X.
Confirm the address and directions.
Check your materials.
Put everything in one small briefcase or professional folder.
Leave yourself plenty of time to get there. Plan to arrive early.
Before you check in visit the washroom.
Let the receptionist know you are there and take a seat.
Mentally review your assets.
Smile. Shake hands firmly.
Go get 'em!
After the Interview
Send a thank you note immediately. Reinforce your attributes. Make sure you sell yourself again.
Keep track of all career related written and verbal correspondence. Set each up contact in a separate file.
Make yourself available. Ensure you can be reached at the number (s), fax and email you listed.
Note: Make sure these numbers are not your current place of employment.
If you do not hear from the potential new employer within one week, follow up. Make a phone call to inquire about the position. Ask how far along they are in the decision making process and reiterate your interest.
If you do not get the position, send another letter of thanks and ask that they keep you in consideration for any other comparable openings.
Source by JoAnn Hines