When you are preparing for interview do your research. Find out all you can about the business. Most of this can be done online and by reading company reports if it’s a larger organisation. You want to be able to ask intelligent questions about their business and this is the way to prepare.
Also if there are pictures of the CEO, MD or Management team, study how they dress. This will give you an indication as to how you should dress for the interview. Is it formal or casual? Do their people wear ties? Are there many women on the board or team?
From reading the report you can also ascertain if the company is formal in its way of talking about itself. This can give an indication of the company ethos and help you decide if this is the sort of place you want to work.
This is particularly good advice for those who have been out of work for a time or those who wish to move from one sector of employment to another, from manufacturing to, say, retailing. So always do this when preparing for interview.
Management activity, just like clothing, goes through "fashions". It is important for you to check the buzz for your prospective industry or sector. This is easily done by reading the journals for your sector and/or for your profession. Go back six months and skim through the journals so that you pick up current topics of concern and the buzz words and key phrases that are fashionable.
Wherever possible when preparing for interview, use your network into your prospective industry so that you can pick up information first hand. One job searcher I know actually rang several firms as a "researcher" examining the major issues facing the industry that she was interested in entering.
In this way you will be better prepared to answer questions such as:
"As a manager, what issues are of interest to you?"
"What in your view should our organisation be doing to improve our position?"
"What do you think we should be doing about the XYZ issue?"
"What major factors do you think are causing us concern right now?
Contact the company before the interview and find out who will be interviewing you. This will give an indication of the number of people it might be – always better to be prepared rather than walk into a room and see a line-up of people.
It also helps if you know their names and job titles so that you can remember them – much easier than when you walk in and they introduce themselves. Also if you know what job they do you can prepare your answers specifically for their individual interests.
Check you know exactly where you are going. This may seem obvious but I have had a number of examples of interviewees going to the wrong place because they make an assumption that a certain building with the company name on the outside was where they were going – but it turned out to be the wrong place. They turned up late and very stressed – not a good first impression when preparing for interview.
Don’t wear white socks.
A survey of recruiters asked them to list the things that put them off most and white socks came out on top!
Don't go on about your age.
If you are older, 50+, don’t go on about your age in a negative way. You have been invited for interview so you must have something going for you.
Avoid wearing perfume or aftershave.
In general after a day of interviews it can be very unpleasant to have a range of smells linger in the room. In particular if an candidate is wearing a scent that has negative connotations for the interviewer it will have a subliminally negative effect.
This distracts the interviewer and can lessen their attention to what you are actually saying. One interviewee spent the entire interview rolling and unrolling his tie – that was the main thing we remembered about him
Eating and drinking.
You may be happy to accept the tea or coffee on offer but please don’t accept anything to eat. There is no way you can eat and answer questions – not elegantly at least.
Follow the links to First Impressions Count and Great interview questions