6 Things to Know Before Every Job Interview

What to Know Before an Interview

A job interview is a dense jungle of unknowns. Most hiring managers don’t give you an interview script, so the specifics of each question are obscured.

That level of uncertainty can be unnerving but you can regain some confidence with a little recon. That way, your interview isn’t a blind search for Colonel Kurtz or Dr. David Livingstone through an uncharted jungle; it’s a straight shot to a glimmering new job.

Know the travel time – A candidate, no matter how good, cannot afford to be late for the job interview. However, traffic snares and inclement weather aren’t always so accommodating. Map out the optimal route and allot extra time for commuter mishaps. Even then, it’s better to arrive 15 minutes early.

Know the interviewer’s name – Seem like a no-brainer? It’s one of the 50 most common job interview sins. Those who find out an interviewer’s name in advance can better guide online research and help tailor interview responses.

Moreover, when you arrive at the company’s office, you won’t have to play 20 questions to explain who you will be meeting. This saves time and prevents you from losing professional face in the eyes of your interviewer.

Know what the company does – Close approximates don’t cut it. Imagine giving a presentation with only a sliver of necessary research on the subject material. It’s the nerve-wrecking stuff of office nightmares (right below attending meetings in only your skivvies). So why add any more anxiety to an already stressful situation?

Even worse is asking “what does your company do?” during the interview. It’s the equivalent of saying “I don’t care about any of this.” Instead, asking questions that flex your muscle and show your knowledge of the company can help you moonwalk into a brand new job.

Know what might hold you back – We all have imperfections. However, anything shy of major skeletons in your closet, even if it initially sets off alarms, can be mitigated.

First, you need to know and address any of the prerequisites you may fail to meet. Remember, an interview invitation shows the hiring manager is already willing to overlook what you lack. Convince them you can make up the difference.

Second, you need to know which desired personality traits you might be lacking. If you fall short of the ideal, make sure to emphasize the ways in which you are growing in that area.

Know answers to common interview questions – Though no manager will email you a practice interview script, most interview questions conform to the norm. You’ll get the occasional company (Google or Facebook) that rely on odd interview questions asking why cows moo or how many golf balls can fit in a 7 story tall Steven Tyler’s mouth but most just want answers to the following questions. Have your responses ready.

Know the dress code – Your attire speaks for you in the interview and it better mesh with what everyone’s garments are saying.

It never hurts to ask your interviewer beforehand about the dress code. That way, you set a professional tone without stepping into the realm of the ridiculous.

by James Walsh

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