Preparing for an interview; the very thought makes the best of us nervous at best and completely panicked at worst. Even very experienced, senior executives feel a little unsure when they have to meet brand new people and convince them of their abilities.

A certain amount of preparation will help cinch that job while making an excellent first impression. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for a face to face interview and nail that job.

If possible, find out beforehand just how many rounds of interview you will have to attend and prepare accordingly. Most companies conduct 2 or 3 separate rounds of interviews. For instance, the first round might be a ‘get to know each other’ round where your hiring manager might want to discuss your career thus far and your skills and experience. The second round might be a technical round, if that’s the nature of your job, or a more intense version of the first round where your proposed value add to the company will be discussed. The final round would be where the HR manager or a senior level person gets involved. When you get to this level, you know that the deal is pretty much in your favor.

Tips to make a great first impression:

  • Ask your recruiter to find out the company’s dress code beforehand and dress accordingly. Be well groomed. For men: If the interview specifically requests ‘business casual’ that means that if you were to add a tie, you would be dressed business.
  • Arrive 5 – 10 minutes early. Never be late.
  • Keep introductions friendly, smile, and use a firm but painless handshake. Be aware to stand and sit with good posture. Be friendly to everyone you meet – EVERYONE.
  • Carry several copies of your resume, and copies of all relevant certificates, letter of appreciation, previous performance reviews and other documents or supportive work projects. Also carry the originals for a quick validation if need be.
  • Always carry spare white paper just in case you need to illustrate something.
  • Ask your recruiter to get you an itinerary of the interview. Know your interviewers’ names in advance, along with their designations and which departments they represent. Look up their profile on LinkedIn or elsewhere to determine how they fit into the company.
  • Prepare for every possible question in advance. Write down possible questions with possible answers and study the list at least twice. Don’t read off your resume, but keep it on hand to glance at for dates or accomplishments in case you get nervous or blank out.
  • Do some homework about the company online before the interview. You should know when the company was started, by whom, what are the names of the senior executives, what is the objective of the company, and what products or services they are associated with. Don’t go overboard with sharing your knowledge.
  • Sound knowledgeable and ask intelligent questions to let them know that you have prepared well. Keep answers to one or two minutes and verify you have answered their question if unsure.
  • Be prepared with your own list of questions. Only ask questions if they provide that time for you. Never ask about compensation, but be open if they ask you about it. Typically, compensation questions will be handled through your recruiter, but don’t avoid these questions during the interview.
  • Collect business cards and send a “thank you” email immediately following the interview. If you don’t have everyone’s email, ask your recruiter to forward them for you.
  • Call your recruiter and debrief them directly after the interview.

Preparing for your interview goes a long way towards cinching that job and making a great first impression.

by:  Anjela Mangrum, CPC

Anjela Mangrum is the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc.  MCS partners with industrial and machining manufacturing businesses to source and secure mid-to-upper level talent for operations, supply chain, and engineering positions.  They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x101.

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