There are few things more daunting than being in the preparatory transition toward a new career path. Often, people will prepare for weeks (or months) for a single meeting. And that preparation is never misplaced.
After all, what can be of greater importance to the career-minded professional that taking the next essential steps forward? In this piece, we’ll be delving into an examination of the best ways to prepare and capitalize on your next interview as well as taking a candid look into common reactions and difficulties you may have in anticipation of the big event.
One thing you can well expect (and therefore prepare for) is the inevitable slew of “what if’s” and “now what’s” that are bound to fill your head the night before. Nerves are the single biggest enemy most people face the night before a job interview and the single biggest detriment they can take into the office the next day. Keeping a cool, collected head is crucial to making a good first impression and few things are more important than that. While credentials, history, and connections are all are vital considerations, there is no replacement for those first ten minutes of evaluation and impression. That said, what are some ways that you can circumvent those inevitable nerves getting a solid hold on you and ruining your chances?
Here are a few to consider:
It’s said clothes make the man (or woman) and to a certain psychological and social extent this is true, so use it to your advantage! In this, dress sharply to give the best impression not just for your potential new employers and colleagues, but for yourself as well. Not that you have to, but this is where faking it till you make it comes in to trick those jittery feelings into settling down a bit. Above all, ensure your wardrobe selection is clean, pressed, and ready to go for the next morning.
Single, double, and triple-check you have everything you need. You don’t want to get to the office, sit down, and realize you’ve forgotten a key piece of your portfolio, or that you had a bit of coffee slosh up and stain your cuff and there you are without a stain stick. Here is a list of items that can help keep you prepared for any eventuality.
While this one may seem a no-brainer at first, consider all of the aspects and variables that go into ensuring that you’re not going to be late to a meeting you really don’t want to be late for: new location, parking, unfamiliar routes, perhaps the office is in a conglomerate building and you have to navigate not only to the right address but then to the right suite. Make certain you practice due diligence the night before with your favorite maps app and (if applicable) parking is secured (or at least available and not a nightmare), or that you have the public transit route down to a tee. If you’ve the time, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with the area before the big day.
Now, for the interview itself! The old adage of having a firm handshake and maintaining eye contact is, while still apropos, far from the entire game. Confidence is paramount, but it has to be assured in the way that can only be truly communicative if it’s genuine. If need be, remind yourself of all that you’re bringing to the table; don’t be afraid to talk yourself up in your head for a bit of a bolster.
Know thy enemy: It’s just a saying, but it’s a good one. Here, you can apply that to a well-researched plan of attack; know who you’ll be talking to, their position, their history with the company (and a bit before, perhaps). Then, go a step farther by discovering more about the company itself: its vision, its direction, its media history, and so on.
All of these factors and pieces of information can come together to give you the solid advantage you need to get and stay ahead of the game.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200