Eight actions to prepare for an interview

The interview is the culmination of many hours and sometimes weeks or months of effort. This process began with developing and sending out resumes, networking with large numbers of people, applying to positions on line, working with executive recruiters and eventually securing phone screens. Now that you’ve made it to the interview, this suggests that you are someone the organization is interested in considering for a position.


There are a number of actions that the candidate can take to ensure that they perform their best during an interview. The goal for the candidate is a combination of focusing on sharing capabilities, experience and desire, while eliminating distractions and behaviors that may turn the interviewer off.


Whether you’re an experienced executive or rookie, there are eight steps to take that can increase your likelihood of best representing your candidacy in an interview.


First, get a good night’s sleep. This should enable you to feel your best, prevent yawning and tired eyes. Schedule the amount of sleep that allows you to have the most energy in the day.


Second, arrive early. There is rarely a downside to arriving for a business meeting at least 15 minutes early. This allows you to get there, check in, review materials/questions, etc.


Third, leave all electronic devices in the car. If that is not an option, turn all devices off. For the time you’re in the “interview” mode, eliminate all of possible distractions for you and the interviewer.


Fourth, dress conservatively. There is no risk in a man wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red tie. For women, the range of outfits is broader, but the guiding principle is that you select a conservative black or navy suit. In addition, take a conservative approach to showing skin.


Fifth, smile and keep an upbeat persona. This begins from the initial contact with anyone at the organization. Everyone is important from the security guard, receptionist and other office personnel. Treat them in the same manner as you will the interview panel. Many times, they have influence on new hires and are consulted by members of the interview panel.


Sixth, prepare for the interview by reading material on the organization and its leaders. Ideally, you’ll find out many aspects that confirm your interest and creates more curiosity about them, where they’re going and how you might add value.


Seven, prepare at least seven to eight questions for each interviewer. The questions should be appropriate and demonstrate you have some knowledge of their organization. Better questions also reflect well on the candidate.


Two clients, Frank Wilson and Denise Nelson both found this helpful as candidates when interviewers expanded the time available for discussion. The additional questions demonstrated good thinking and preparation to the organizations.


Eight, allow grooming and accessories to enhance your candidacy versus distracting the interviewer. Neat hair and nails always work. Minimal and silent accessories are usually the best—e.g. no clanging jewelry.


“I have said it before, and I will say it again: Follow Dwain’s advice if you want to get the job of your dreams. His tips on how to get the job or that next promotion are powerful and proven!”

~ Darryl L. Mobley, Life & Executive Coach, www.CoachMobley.com


Many of the items listed may have been obvious to you. If so, that is great. More important is the implementation of all of the ideas to allow the focus to be on your abilities and fit with the organization.


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