This advice may differ slightly depending on the position you are applying for, if you are in sales, management, accounting, or other area, but provides a good checklist for FIVE THINGS to get ready prior to each job interview
1) Research the company, the location, its products and services
Find the company’s website and explore it well. Identify its products & services, its key market segments and clients, its geographic scope and locations around you. Checkout its annual report (if its public) and identify key business units, management & director that you may be dealing with.
Identify recent news stories and corporate announcements, using Google searching for “CompanyName, news”, and checking Google.com/Alerts also check credible business news sites like http://www.cbc.ca/news/business , http://money.cnn.com/ and http://www.bnn.ca/
Your interviewers will have expected you to have done some research… surprise them with your level of knowledge… especially about areas of the business where you expect you may/will be working
2) Research the people you will or may be interviewing with
Identify common places you’ve live, activities, hobbies, and causes you share… these are good topics to open up your interview with, to establish rapport.
TIP: Try to get the names and titles of those planning to be part of the process.
3) Plan your questions about the company, about the products, services, and people you will be working with.
Also, prepare answers for not only the “typical interview questions” but also addressing any deficiencies (or other issues) that pertain you your competency for the position (we cover this as part of Advantage Tech’s career transition coaching), and specific skills or experience relevant to the job of job ad.
TIP: If you are a morning person, try to schedule meetings/interviews earlier, when you are at your peak. If you are an afternoon person, try for a later interview time. Feign an earlier meeting or dentist appointment. Interviewer’s will try to throw you off your game, and expose you to the unexpected… try to stack the odds in your favour, without them realizing it.
4) Research the location of your interview, the facilities there, where you can park (or nearest transit, if that’s an option for you).
Check that the company has no announced plans for location change. Samuel Travis related a story, going back 30 years, early in his consulting career , when one of his first marketing trips was a meeting with HR at Edmonton Telephone (which later merged into Telus). He landed, at the Edmonton Municipal airport and took a cab to their downtown offices, only to find out the company moved to new offices the day before, requiring a second cab to be called and taken to the meeting. And, when he arrived at the new location, it was far too late for the meeting, and was never re booked, and that opportunity was lost.
TIP: use Google Maps and Streetview to plan the trip to the interview
5) Plan your wardrobe, ensuring it is appropriate to the company and interview.
If you are not sure, show up at the location a day early and see how the staff there dresses. You don’t want to overdress compared to the boss, but overdressing the other staff a BIT is okay
TIP: Remember to not change your routine the day before an interview: eat and sleep the same. And don’t change your exercise routine. You want to arrive and keep everything as “normal” as possible, to be in the optimal physical and mental state. Being too full, too hungry, too tired, or too thirsty may all send subtle negative signals to the people you are meeting with that something is askew, or that you are stressed about something
Another story from Samuel Travis, who instead of his usual healthy breakfast, ate waffles with syrup and hot chocolate. After parking, he ran across the street and was breathing heavily. “When I arrived at reception the HR manager came to greet me and took me to her office. We sat by a very small table with small French Provincial chairs. There was not enough room for my presentation material and I was not prepared for a surprise environment. I was very short of breath and she asked if I was alright. I said I was not feeling well and she took me to the infirmary where I stayed for 40 minutes until it was determined I was suffering from hypoglycemia from the unusual amount of sugar I had with breakfast.”
That holds true for any interview or other occasion where you are selling yourself. A job interview, marketing meeting, a first date, a meeting with your banker for a loan are ALL interviews.
Now you are ready for the interview. Good Luck!