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How to plan for your next job interview

How to plan for your next job interview

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From Chaos to Order by Sebastien WiertzInterviewing is stressful and there are multiple aspects to the planning. Today let’s just do some basic Q&A to learn the best ways to be successful.

What type of interview will it be?

There are many types of interviews and many ways they are conducted. The most common are the phone interview, the Skype interview, and the in-person interview.

The Phone Interview

The phone interview is almost always the first interview though there may be more phone interviews within a specific company’s process. If the interview is a phone interview, here’s a quick checklist:

  • Make sure you are in a place that is quiet. No dogs barking, children yelling, TV or radio noises.
  • Collect your notes and do your homework in advance.
  • Research the company website and Google the company name.
  • If you are applying for a higher level position, use a site like CNNMoney or Fortune to see if you can research the company’s stock rankings, executive leadership, and perhaps even their pay levels.
  • Study Glassdoor.com to learn more about the interview process and what other company members think about working there.

The Skype Interview

If the interview is a Skype interview, which is becoming much more common as companies strive to cut costs and transportation costs continue to rise. Here are some things you should know about interviewing on Skype:

  • First, make sure you download Skype and test it with someone else prior to the interview. Nothing is worse than having technical issues at the last-minute.
  • When I speak about Skype interviews, you do need to create a professional Skype profile. Your Skype name should be your own if possible. If you use Skype to talk to friends or family, make sure the photos and the comments are ones you want an employer to see. There’s a little part that reads, “tell your friends what you are up to.” This sticks with your profile so make sure it sounds professional.
  • Check your background. Whatever is directly in back of you is seen by the camera. Make sure that you prepare the best possible image.
  • Dress for the interview. In general, you should do this for everything but since this will be on camera, dress as if this is an in-person interview.
  • Set up your notes. If possible use the wall behind the camera for posting information you will want at the interview. One of my clients even put up a note that said, “SMILE” so she would remember to smile.

The in-person interview

The in-person interview is generally a later interview and often with a hiring manager and potentially executive management depending on your role with the company and the company size. Tips to be successful in the in-person interview:

  • How are you getting there? If you have to drive to the interview, make sure you have checked out the location in advance. If it is across town, drive there a day or two in advance to make sure you are familiar with where it is and what obstacles could be in your way.
  • If the interview is out-of-town, give yourself enough time. You might want to go a day in advance so you are not rushing to get there. Make sure you get directions and know specifically which building you are meeting in. I recently helped a client / friend on Facebook who wanted to send flowers to someone starting a new role in a big company. She knew the department. When I Googled, I found the PDF with the company map. They had 16 buildings. You don’t want to end up trying to figure it out at the last-minute.
  • Just as above, dress for the part. Don’t take a chance on anything. Plan ahead with a change of clothes in the car, if you stop for coffee and suddenly spill the cup all over you, you don’t want to scramble.
  • Learn as much as you can about the interviewers. This is true for all the types of interviews too. Use LinkedIn to reach people in the company and try to find out who specifically will be interviewing you. Team interviews are common as are sequential interviews held on the same day with different people from the company depending on your upcoming new role.

There are many other aspects to interview preparation. Role playing and rehearsing questions are other services I offer my clients. Take the interviews seriously even if it is an internal interview. You need to prove that you outshine outside candidates who may be working with someone like me who is coaching them on all the potential pitfalls of interviewing.

To get your career or job search launched with an outstanding resume, creatively written cover letter, cutting-edge LinkedIn Profile and innovative career marketing strategies, simply click here!

Photo Credit: Sebastien Wiertz

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