You Must Be As Prepared As Or Better Prepared Than Your Competition.
An interview begins long before you step in front of the interviewer. Wise job seekers will prepare with this in mind. The best-prepared candidate makes the best impression, has the best interview, and almost always gets the offer. When you get the interview, follow these steps:
Step 1 - Research the Company (and Interviewer)
Know as much as you can about the company's history, products/services, sales processes (if you're in sales), finances, plans, recent news, noteworthy executives, physical locations, operating challenges, operational approaches, and anything else you can find out prior to stepping into the room. Do an internet search, but also check out LinkedIn and your network. Reach out to contacts, check blogs, and try to get the inside story on what is happening at your prospective company (and be prepared to talk about it).
Step 2 - Build a Brag Book
A brag book / kudos file / performance portfolio is not only going to help you remember the great things you've done so you can talk about them in the interview, it will give you a tremendous confidence boost so you can walk in a winner. (See this article on Brag Book Essentials.)
Step 3 - Create a 30-60-90-Day Plan
Outline what actions you would take to be successful in your first 30 days on the job. There's nothing that will show your value and make them know they need to hire you more than a 30/60/90-Day Plan. See this article on How to Create a 30-60-90-Day Plan, or get a guaranteed-to-impress plan with coaching: 30-60-90-Day Action Plan.
Step 4 - Spend Time Rehearsing Your Answers
Know what questions you're likely to be asked and practice your answers. This will ensure you deliver your best answers. Also use your research to try to anticipate any company-specific questions and develop answers for those, too. Check out our How to Answer Interview Questions Series.
Step 5 - Know the Route to Your Interview
Plan for traffic issues. Know where you'll park. Make sure you arrive early. This is not a time to rush around anxiously, or arrive late. These things make you appear disorganized and less competent.
Be sure to say a kind word to the receptionist, the assistant, and any other folks you may meet on your way into and out of the interview.
Step 6 - Make the Best Possible Physical Impression
Have your hair, nails, suit, shirt, shoes, belt, etc. in the best possible condition - everything pressed, cleaned, trimmed, shined up and ready to go. Refresh basic interview etiquette, especially if you are invited to interview over a meal.
Step 7 - Have a Plan to Follow Up
Write appropriate job interview thank you notes and email them quickly (within 24 hours).
Be clear about any post-interview actions you may have (when you should call back, etc.). Ask your references to follow up reassuring the hiring manager that you are a great fit.
A job interview is a major event that should be supported with a full range of well-considered actions providing the best possible likely endpoint--your hire.
Make sure to download our Free Job Interview Prep Kit!