Interview Preparation: Simple steps for success

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There is one type of presentation we all practice on a daily basis: self-presentation. A perfect application for self-presentation is the interview. Whether you’re interviewing for a job or an internship, this checklist can help you walk into the room with confidence.

The steps are grouped by how far in advance you should complete them. The list is not exhaustive; feel free to share your personal interview preparation tips!

One Month

  • Print a list of questions you could be asked. Write responses in bullet point form, and practice a couple every day until your interview. Here is a good list to start with.
  • Research the company, its industry and its clients (if it has any).
  • Start following the company’s social media channels. Pay attention to company news.
  • If you know who will be interviewing you, look at their LinkedIn profiles. Knowing about your interviewer(s) will help you make connections and feel more comfortable when you meet in person.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn is updated and your social media presents you in a good light.
  • List all experiences you’ve had that could apply to the position. Think of stories you could tell during the interview. Chances are, you’ve done a lot more than what’s listed on your resume.
  • Order business cards if you do not have them.

One Week

  • Create a list of key messages you want to communicate. Think of ways to incorporate these messages into your interview answers.
  • Prepare a one-minute pitch for the typical “tell me about yourself” question. Make sure it’s targeted toward the position you’ve applied for. Try to make it sound unrehearsed.
  • Practice your handshake and greeting. Seriously, ask a friend for feedback.
  • Get your portfolio ready.
  • Interact with the company on social media. Re-tweet a blog post or respond to Facebook posts and tweets.
  • Come up with a list of unique questions to ask during the interview.

One Day

  • Choose your outfit. Make sure it is appropriate and neatly pressed. Try it on in front of a mirror, sitting and standing.
  • Print or write down directions. Plan to leave early to accommodate for wrong turns or traffic delays.
  • Review your application materials. The interviewer(s) will likely have a copy of your resume and cover letter in front of them, so be prepared to elaborate on anything you previously sent to the company.
  • Get sleep! You want to be alert during your interview.
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One thought on “Interview Preparation: Simple steps for success

  1. Great post, Heather. I’d add to this that having your social presence in order is a must before even applying for the job/internship because it could affect whether or not you get the interview. I love your reminder to be strategic in your “key messages” to incorporate in your answers. We often think about branding in terms of organizations, but forget to brand ourselves and show that we have developed a clear identity as a professional. I’d also recommend checking on “Glassdoor.com” and other related sites to see what others have said about their interview experiences with the company, particularly if you are interviewing at a larger company.

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