So you aced your phone interview and have been asked to come in for an in-person interview!
The good news is that you have already begun getting ready for it when you prepared for your phone interview. You researched the company, prepared your STAR stories, and answers to why you want to work at the organization. Now it is time prepare for Part Two. Treat getting ready for this interview as a Grand Dress Rehearsal. Every detail should be completed a day or two before. This should include a dry run to the location at the same time of day to be sure you do not get lost, or arrive late due to parking or traffic.
Here is a list of things you can do to ace the in-person interview:
- Appearance: Dress one or two levels higher than the position you are interviewing for. Generally, dressing better than required improves your chances.
- What to bring: Several copies of your resume, printed on resume paper, and references printed on the same; Your career portfolio with writing and project samples, if applicable; A list of questions and a pen to jot down notes
- Preparation: Research the company on the Internet. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to find people who work there, and learn about career paths of current and former employees.
- Prepare for situational questions: Have 7 to 10 STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) stories to use as answers to many interview questions. Write out these stories and practice reading them aloud, especially the day before the interview.
- Prepare questions to ask: Be ready to ask well thought-out questions about the job, company, and career path. Do not ask questions that can easily be answered from the “About Us” section of the company website, but instead use ones that show that you are really interested. Google “top ten questions to ask in an interview” for ideas.
- Prepare good answers about your strengths and weaknesses: Use the job description as your guide, finding your strengths among their needs. The answer about a weakness is best dealt with by using one that you have improved on and turned into a strength, or one that is not essential to the job. Avoid clichés, such as “I am a workaholic”.
- Practice smiling and making eye contact: This may seem obvious, but when you nervous, you may seem shifty and untrustworthy, and forget to smile. Practice mock or Skype interviews, making a conscious effort to smile and connect. Utilize a mirror during your rehearsals. Grab a friend / relative / family member to help, if possible
- Do a Test Run: One or two days before the interview, drive to the location at the same time of day, taking note of traffic and where to park. It is unwise to trust a GPS or Google Maps alone, and take a chance on being late. Have a backup set of directions printed on paper if you are relying on electronic directions. If at all possible, allow extra time for problems such as a flat tire, etc. You really want the job, right?
- Relax before the interview: To take off the nerves, practice deep breathing. This will relax you, and will also help to open up your airways, making your voice sound better, more confident. Don’t know how? Internet to the rescue! Just google “relaxation breathing techniques”. There are instructions, and even videos.
- Get a good night’s sleep: Prepare things days ahead of time, such as clothing, resumes, and your portfolio, so that you will be well rested for the interview. It is best, if at all possible, to have no preparation tasks left to accomplish the day before the interview, so you can completely relax.
Please share with me ways you successfully prepared for an in-person interview, or things that did not work, and what you learned from them!
By day, Rachelle, working mother of two, serves as an education advocate and career advisor for MassEdCO. By night, Rachelle provided career consulting and works to promote green energy. When Rachelle is not writing her blog, advising her students, or coaching her clients, she enjoys camping and going to the theater with her two children.