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Monday, September 14, 2009

How to prepare for an interview

As a sequel to my previous post on how to do well at job interviews, this post will talk about the preparations that you can do in the time leading up to your interview. These are practical guidelines to help you tie up loose ends and mentally prepare yourself so that you do not have last minute and unnecessary stress over things you may have overlooked.

When you are contacted for the interview, you should ask a few preliminary questions to help your preparation. You should always ask about what documents are required when you attend the interview. Jot them down and make sure that you have them ready. If it is not asked of you, you should still bring a copy of your resume to the interview. This will also help you as a reference in case you have many versions of resumes sent to different companies at the same time. You don’t want to be confused over which set you have sent to that particular interviewer. You should also bring your education certifications, last three months’ pay slips and any proof of a pay increment, if any.

You should also ask who your interviewers are. Find out their names and their positions in the company if possible. When you have this information, you can do some research and find out more about these individuals so that you know what to expect in terms of their management style, personalities, etc. It is not that easy to find out such personal information most of the time, but if you are well connected, you can ask around friends and get to know who may have heard or know your interviewers.

Also, ask for a contact number and person should you need to contact them. This will come in useful in case of emergency. If for some reason you need to reschedule the interview, at least you are able to be in touch and explain your situation. Also, if you happen to run late on the day of the interview, you should have the courtesy to call to inform.

Take time to decide what you want to wear to the interview. Select something that you feel comfortable and confident wearing. A day or two in advance of the interview, give your outfit a good ironing. Doing this in advance would be a big time saver on the day of the interview, as well as an insurance in case things go wrong on the day you need to wear your power suit, like a power cut which prevents you from ironing out your clothes. This is not paranoid thinking, it could very well happen. In addition, you should also decide on matching shoes and give them a good polish in advance.

Plan your route in advance too, especially if your interview is scheduled at peak hours. Expect delays in traffic conditions and give yourself plenty of time to get there. No harm getting there earlier than to sit in traffic and panic that you will be late. You may also want to enquire about the parking arrangements if you are not familiar with the venue. At most corporate buildings, there are ample parking spaces in the basements, but there are also some buildings that have limited space so you may need to find alternatives. If you have this information beforehand, it could save you a lot of time scouting the area for parking.

As much as the interview will be on your mind a lot, you should also try to take it easy. It is advisable that you take the day off from your job to attend the interview. Most people tend to take half a day of leave if the interview is scheduled in the afternoon. I would like to suggest that you take the entire day off so that you have the morning free and easy. Have an early start on the day of the interview. Do things at a pace that you are comfortable with. Have a hot shower, listen to your favourite music, burn some essential oils and have a positive mindset.

You should do some homework about the company, the role that you have applied for and of course go through the thought process of the possible questions to be asked. You can refer to my earlier post and think through your answers.

Last but not least, you know yourself best and how you can relax the best way possible. Do what it takes and stay in a happy mood. It shows when you are cheerful and confident and it helps to present that positive disposition around you when you meet your interviewers.

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