Much has been said and written about what to do when interviewing for a job. From being on time to dressing one notch up to writing thank you notes, the advice is practical and important.
But what of the time before the interview? What specifically should you do before you start out to be prepared for your interview? Here are ten pieces of pre-interview advice to get you prepped so you can be your best.
- Make sure your shoes are cleaned and shined. People, including interviewers, notice your footwear. If it’s messy or dirty or unkempt, is that how you’ll be in your job as well?
- Check that clothes are neat and clean. That means they are stain-free, odor-free, and wrinkle-free. You don’t want to present an image that says you are a sloppy individual. It’s not a bad idea to invest in an iron: pressed impresses.
- Clean and trim your fingernails. One of the first things you’ll do is shake hands. You want to be sure your hands are presentable and create a positive image of you in the interviewer’s mind.
- See that hair is neat—combed, brushed, and held back away from your face. For men, a quick visit to a barber or hair salon to clean up areas like the back of the neck or the ears will improve your appearance and keep the focus on what you have to say and not on how you look.
- Leave extra jewelry at home. Keep it to a minimum—nothing flashy or jangly—so it doesn’t distract the interviewer.
- Print your resume. Bring along a clean copy and have several extras in case you meet with different people.
- Know the location. Have the address and phone number plugged into your phone or written on a slip of paper. If it’s on your phone and you have a map app, plug in the route so you know how to get there. Better yet, do a dry run the day before if possible so you not only know how to get there, you also know how long it will take.
- Practice the pronunciation of names. People simply aren’t named “Smith” or “Jones” anymore. Your best bet is to find out how to pronounce the names of the people you are scheduled to meet before you attend the interview. Call the company and ask the receptionist or a person in HR for the correct pronunciation. You’ll stand out, especially if your competition didn’t learn the correct pronunciation.
- Have writing paper and instrument. Bring paper and pen to take notes during your interview. You don’t want to have to ask for it during the interview.
- Be prepared. It may rain, sleet or snow so make sure your coat is in good condition. Pack an umbrella. Charge up your electronics and then turn them off when you arrive. Have a couple of breath mints that you can enjoy before arriving “just in case.”
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.