Getting ready for a job interview can feel scarier than the worst final exam. You know you need to prepare, but there are so many things you could do ahead of time, and only so much time to do them in. Don’t let the pre-interview stress melt your brain. Just follow these very simple steps, and that interview can turn into your first meeting with your new boss.
1. Do your homework.
Adrien Fraise, founder of career coaching company Modern Guild tells The New York Times that it’s important to research the company and the industry at large before heading into an interview. Ideally, you want to be able to talk about industry trends can affect the company you’re interviewing with.
Just like studying for a big exam, it’s best if you don’t leave this to one last-minute cram session. A few minutes of research spread out over a few days will be easier on your noggin than a last-minute push to read everything ever printed about your prospective employer.
2. Put on your uniform.
If possible, find out how people dress at the company you’re interviewing with, and use that as your guide. One caveat, however: if folks come to work wearing jammies and sweats, that doesn’t mean that you should interview in the same. It’s good to be just a little more dressed up than the average person, as long as you’re not wearing a three-piece suit while the interviewer is wearing flip-flops — or vice versa.
3. Think about how you can add value.
It’s always a good idea to run through some of the standard interview questions before you meet with the hiring manager, and when you do, keep your skills, problem-solving experience, and expertise in mind. Adrien Fraise suggests that you come prepared with a few anecdotes to illustrate the value you’d add to the company, just in case you’re asked to walk the interviewer through your resume. Then practice, practice, practice.
4. Develop your elevator pitch.
Be able to sum up your experience — professional or academic, if you were recently a student — in one minute or less. That way, you won’t be left hemming and hawing if you’re asked to describe your previous jobs.
5. Turn off your cell phone.
It can never be said too much or too often: turn that phone off. You want to keep distractions to a minimum, look for ways to connect with your interviewer, and above all, be polite. Nothing ruins all those things faster than a buzzing phone.
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