Preparing for the Interview
Congratulations!  You received the call from your dream job company, and they want to interview you in a week.  After the celebratory victory dance, which is merited, since you probably made the cut from a much larger pool of candidates, it’s time to think about the interview.  Here is a short list of things to think about, execute, or prepare for prior to the big day.  Each tip is designed to cut the unnecessary stress out of an inherently stressful day.

1.  Always bring at least 3 copies of your resume and any documentation you sent in with your application.  It seems silly, especially because you know the company already has all of your information, but I have been asked on at least 3 interviews for my resume.  Avoid awkward moments by being smooth and prepared with your resume, writing sample, and references on hand.

2. Review the company website, publications, and community involvement before the interview.  Chances are you already checked out the company before you applied, but a quick refresher is important so you know exactly how to respond to the interview questions.  Also, check if anyone you know works at the company.  They might have advice from their personal experience with the company and insider company policy.  If you do not know anyone at the company, try researching the competition and their view on your potential employer.  Integrate this research into your interview answers, and you will look not only smart, but already familiar with the company’s policies.

3. If you can, find out who your interviewer(s) will be before you arrive.  Research what they do for the company.  You may discover you have friends or causes in common, and it can never hurt to drop a line or two you know will be favorable to the interviewer.

4. One of the most important tips is being on time for the interview.  Drive by the interview location a day before the interview and make sure to check on parking options and traffic issues for the particular area.  I interviewed for a job in a busy downtown area and did not anticipate the complete lack of parking.  When I finally did find parking, I was stressed and frazzled.  I was not late to the interview, but anxious sweat is not the best start to an interview.

5. Pick out the “winning outfit” the day before.  Find your favorite interview outfit, including accessories and jewelry, and try it on.  Does it still fit and make you feel fabulous?  If not, find the next best option and stick with it the day of the interview. 

6. Plan your meal time appropriately.  You should eat something before the interview, if just to avoid the loud stomach grumbles in the middle of the interview.  Do not, under any circumstances, drink alcohol before your interview.  One of my previous employers said he had several people walk into the interview with alcohol fumes on their breath, and he immediately eliminated them from the hiring process.  Celebrate after the interview.

Now that you have some great tips, use them!  You might be anxious about the interview when you walk into the employer’s office, but just think about the other potential candidates who failed to bring copies of their resume, frantically searched for parking, or forgot to research the employer properly.  You are already several steps ahead of them, so put on a smile and work that interview.