Nice work! You’ve scouted the position, submitted the resume, impressed the higher-ups and scheduled the interview. Sure, you’re going to think on your feet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare too. Here's how to do it.
Know your stuff
When you go in for an interview, don’t be clueless. Review the company’s website; Google their name for recent news articles on them – and their competitors. (Business Week and The Wall Street Journal won’t steer you wrong.) You probably can, and definitely should, download – and read – their most recent annual report. Talk to pertinent professors and people already working in the field. This interviewer is going to want to know why you want to work there and not someplace else, and “uh, because you’re hiring” is a bad, bad answer.
Dress well, be on time (early), address your interviewer by name (and pronounce it right), bring extra resumes, all that stuff. It’s covered in Dos and Don’ts too, but it bears repeating.
Practice makes decent
Perfect is a lot to ask of yourself for something as fluid and unpredictable as an interview. There’s no way to guarantee 100% how it will all work out, nor should there be – this is about two humans sitting down together to get to know one another. Still, run through it beforehand (our Interview Simulation can help with that), and prepare answers to what you think the employer might ask you along with questions of your own. You’ll be in much better shape.
Maybe not literally. But body-language experts say a forward-leaning person is interested and engaged in the conversation, and that needs to be you. As you walk in there, remember that you’re interviewing them too, so be alert and inquisitive. Not antsy and defensive. That will naturally help you hold your hands right and make all the right faces and so on.
Have a pulse
Nina Guthrie, Grant Thornton Director of Recruiting’s advice: “Have fun with it.” Sure, this meeting could set the course of the REST OF YOUR LIFE, but thinking about it in all caps won’t help during the actual interview. “Try not to be nervous,” she says. “Try to let some of who you are come through.”
Get even more interview tips from a seasoned interrogator.