Don’t allow yourself to make this common and costly mistake. Check out this five-minute video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, for four quick tips to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.
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Before recruiters even select which candidates to interview, they conduct what are referred to as initial screening sessions. These are often conducted over the phone or online. Many recruiters weed out 50% of candidates during the initial screening process. This means you need to prepare not only for your actual interview; you need to also prepare for the screening process! Once you begin applying for jobs, be prepared and expect to receive emails and phone calls which may require you to respond quickly and in a thoughtful, meaningful manner.
1. Be prepared with interview skills.
This sounds like common sense, but many candidates overlook the need to brush up on interview basics: common interview questions, your own selling points, reflecting on your work history and educational background, and thinking about how you’ll respond if asked why you want the particular job (this question will most likely be asked).
If you feel inadequately prepared for your interview and are lacking basic interview skills, don’t panic. Search our blog for articles on the topic you’re curious about and be sure to visit your local career services office for advice, assistance, and to sign up for upcoming mock interviews or interview workshops.
2. Be prepared with questions for the employer about the position and company. Research; do your homework!
This step is vital. If you’re going to skip one of these four steps in the preparation process, do not skip this step. With access to company websites, you really have no excuse to arrive ill-informed about the company you’re interviewing with and to know nothing about the position you’re interviewing for. Nothing irritates a recruiter more than to interview someone who asks the exact same questions the candidate can easily find answers to on the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page of the company website. Don’t be that guy.
3. Be prepared with interview gear.
Print out your resume, reference page, and cover letter on quality resume paper. Bring at least two copies in case you’re interviewed by multiple recruiters/hiring managers. You should carry your documents in a leather-bound binder or neat-looking folder if possible, along with a pen and notepad with your prepared questions. It’s completely acceptable to take a few notes during the interview about main points made by the employer; avoid scribbling or writing so many notes that you avoid eye contact, though.
Be sure to prepare your interview outfit at least one day in advance as well. Dry clean your outfit or wash/iron your clothing to ensure you look your best. Shine/polish your shoes if necessary.
Make transportation arrangements if you do not own your own vehicle.
4. Prepare yourself.
Remember the tips your elementary teacher provided you with during standardized testing? Recall those tips when preparing for job interviews. Get plenty of rest. Don’t stay up all night partying or playing video games the night before interviews. Eat well, but don’t stuff yourself. Drink a little coffee if you like, but not too much. Drink plenty of water. Try to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke or any strong scents or odors before arriving on site for your interview.
Just remember when preparing for interviews that you’re investing precious minutes in your own future; you’re never wasting time.