Five Little Tips for Interviewing (Part 2)

Third: Be Prepared…
So you've practiced and polished your interview skills, worked on your demeanor and developed your ease of being.  What next?  Be prepared!

First create some interview uniforms — this way you don't even have to think about what to wear.  Wear these clothes around the house — like breaking in a new pair of shoes — so you get used to the look and feel of them.  Make sure everything is cleaned and pressed (and shoes are polished) well before the interview.

Go through the entire interview in your mind's eye, starting the night before.  Envision how you want the morning of the interview to flow — which will be impacted on when you go to bed the night before.  Visualize how you want to feel the morning before the interview.  Next look at how you are traveling to the interview and map out the route, verify the public transportation schedule, etc.  Give yourself an easy twenty extra minutes to get to the meeting (there's no harm in standing around with nothing to do except go over your notes).  The idea here is to figure out the best way to diminish stress before your interview so you are not distracted by unnecessary worries.

Next up, checkout the organization or company.  This should be done as soon as possible — not the night before you meet.  Start outward and focus in.  Look at news about the organization as a whole, then any news worthy items from the past three months.  Next try to find out information about the area where you will be working and how it fits within the organizational tree.  Also, look up any news about your department.  (This you may have to do through trade and association publications.)  The idea here is to be able to say "Oh yes, I was reading last week about that new initiative you are doing…"  The more information you have at your disposal means the more you appear to be the right person for the job.  And it also means you can make a more informed decision if the job is offered to you.

Fourth: Be An Idea Person…
Most interviewees answer the questions posed and then ask their own prepared questions, but they never break out of the role of "interviewee."  Why not shoot to be the person who acts like they're already part of the team?  Ask the questions you would ask if you were in a staff meeting.  Offer up ideas that you would suggest if you were going to get a bonus.  In this way you distance yourself from the pack of other applicants by moving from being a wallflower to part of the dance.

A good first step for this is not be in a rush to finish the interview.  When we're stressed, we hurry.  And when we hurry, we aren't fully cognizant of our present opportunities.  So eliminate the sensation of needing to "get done and get out" and focus on your interviewer's goals and how you can help them succeed.  Ask questions to gain as much information as possible and then offer up creative ideas in a brainstorming-like manner.  A caveat to take into consideration is that you don't want to come across as a know-it-all, instead take the stance that you are collaborating with the interviewer to jointly find solutions.

The second part of this is to know when to allow the conversation to move on to the next item.  Your interviewer has an agenda to get through.  And perhaps other interviews coming after yours, so don't become so loquacious that you keep the interview from moving forward.  Be creative, brainstorm yet be concise.

Part Three…Us & We