Five Steps for a Successful In-Person Interview
A successful on-site interview begins as soon as the interview has been scheduled. The level of knowledge you have about your potential new employer will help determine whether you will receive an offer after the interview. Here are five interview preparation tips that have proven successful:
Step 1: Know where you are going, and be on time.
If at all practical, a day or two beforehand, drive to the place where the interview will take place under conditions similar to what you think the conditions will be when you drive to the actual interview (e.g., normal drive-time traffic). Doing this will help you determine the best route and gauge the effect of traffic on your drive.
Ask the interview scheduler about parking. It will do you no good to be early if you have to spend 30 minutes hunting for a parking spot. If you are interviewing with a large company that has multiple buildings, make sure you know exactly where you need to be and who you should ask for. Keep the interview coordinator's telephone number handy in case you get lost or delayed.
Step 2: Spend some time reviewing your resume.
This may seem unnecessary, but most resumes are in chronological order, and people tend to think in terms of their experiences. Also, you should be prepared if the interviewer says something like "Tell me about what you enjoyed about your role from 2002 to 2004".
Take a few extra copies of your resume to the interview. This will show that you are prepared, and may even help you gain favor should one of the interviewers not be as prepared.
Step 3: Study the job description and have several questions prepared for the interviewer.
An interview table has two sides, and every job seeker has a mission to accomplish: To walk away with a solid understanding of the company, the position, the responsibilities, and ultimately, whether this is a company and opportunity the job seeker wants to pursue. This is your time to dig in, learn more, and show that you are genuinely interested in exploring the company and the position.
Orient these questions to display you’re thinking of yourself in the role you’re being interviewed for:
"What are the strengths and personality traits of the current team members?” "What is it that you are going to want to get accomplished in the first six months in this role?” "What have past employees done to succeed in this position?" "What have you enjoyed most about working here?”
Step 4: Learn as much as you can about the company.
History, size (number of employees, number of locations, revenue), leadership biographies, positioning within the industry. Talk with friends. They may know someone who works for the company, and they may be open to answering "day in the life of" questions that are not available through Internet research.
Step 5: First impressions still count.
Smile and be confident! Within the first 15 seconds, the interviewer will assess your appearance, bearing, enthusiasm, and confidence. Also consider this: The people who will interview you may be no more comfortable than you are about interviews. In that case, the better prepared you are, the better impression you will make, and the more comfortable they will be.