30 in 30: Interview Prep Work
Once you've landed an interview, give yourself a pat on the back, convince your parents to buy you dinner, then prepare for battle. Getting your ducks in order before the big day is crucial. Here are some ways to get yourself in gear:
- Do some research. It's important to have a strong grasp on the company's past, present, and future. Go to the website and read the about page. Google for recent news. Check out trade magazine related to the industry and brainstorm some questions to ask regarding recent current events.
- Get to know the interviewer. If you're told beforehand who will be interviewing you, why not see if you can find any connections? Check out online career networking sites and do some Googling. You don't want to show up looking like a stalker, but any commonality (same home town, used to work at the company where your dad works, etc.) can work as a conversation starter.
- Practice, practice, practice. Mock up a list of potential questions that might pop up, including both general personal questions and those specific to the firm. Ask other people who may have interviewed with the same company or similar companies for advice on the interview. Also, refer back to the job description to remind yourself of exactly what skills they are looking for so that you can stress them throughout the interview.
- Review your application. Know your résumé and cover letter inside out—sometimes, your résumé is the only thing that the interviewer will know about you, so be prepared to defend its honor to the death.
- Clean up your online profile. We've discussed this already; do it before the company is interested enough in your candidacy to start snooping.
Looking for a job in the new year? Be sure to stay on top of all the essential job-hunting tips from Gradspot's new series, 30 in 30: The Insider's Guide to Job-Hunting in '09. If you'd like to share your own tips with the Gradspot community, email 30in30 [at] gradspot [dot] com with your tip, your occupation/industry of interest, and your name as you'd like it to appear on the site.