Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top 10 "Dos" for Interviewing Preparation

Here is a list of the Top 10 things you can do to prepare yourself for an interview. I have compiled this list from talking with friends about their own experiences, talking to people about what they expect from interviewees, and of course from my own experiences.

10. A manicure is 100% necessary.
When you are sitting down in front of your interviewer, they can only see a few things: your face, hair, chest and hands. These are what they will use to judge your appearance (so you probably don't want to wear a halter top). Even if you're a guy, go get your nails cleaned. Dirt under your fingernails, not a great indication of good hygiene.

9. Know your current events. But more importantly, know yourself. Or at least know some stories of current interest. Most interviewers, if they are experienced enough, won't ask you anything besides information about you and how you fit in with the firm, but there is a chance you will have to talk with that one guy who will cockily ask "so what news story is catching your interest at the moment?" They will only ask this when they foolishly don't know what else to say, but still, you want to be prepared. As long as you were there for your own experiences, you will be able to intelligently answer any questions they ask about your past and what you have learned.

8. Minimal jewelry. No gaudiness. No costume jewelry.

7. A little heel goes a long way. Just the fact that you went through the extra effort to be a little uncomfortable and look a little more professional will be impressive. You don't need to wear 5 inchers, in fact you probably shouldn't, but you don't want to wear flats either.

6. Print out your resume on some nice looking paper. And bring MORE THAN 1 copy. Most likely, you will be meeting with more than one person, and you will want to hand everyone you meet a copy of your resume. Your preparedness will be an indicator of what they can expect in the future.

5. Get a good night's rest. Don't go into an interview hungover. You won't be able to hold an intelligent conversation, and you'll probably look like crap.

4. Wear a suit. And you better make sure it fits.

3. Research the person you are interviewing for. Google them. Find them on LinkedIn. Look at their blog (if they have one). Research their bio and know where they grew up, went to school/college and where they formerly worked. This way you can work any commonalities or connections you may have, during the interview. You will be much more likely to be remembered long after the interview, if you do this.

2. GET YOUR HAIR DONE! This piece of advice comes from a friend who was yelled at by a head hunter firm when she walked in with her hair in a semi-curly bun. Apparently, this isn't acceptable (they yelled at her until she started crying).

1. Research the firm you are interviewing at. Know their goals, areas of expertise and clients. You don't want to go in for an interview completely ignorant of what you will be doing and risk sounding like you have no idea what you're talking about.

Today, I made a lot of progress on the job search front. At an event I volunteered at about two weeks ago, I made a contact through networking who I followed up with. Turns out, The Person knows a lot of people, and is more than willing to help me in my search. The Person sat on the phone with me for 45 minutes, telling me everyone they knew at each of the firms I'm interested in. The ball is in my court now, to go through and research all these people at the firms and get back to The Person with a prioritized list. The Person is then going to CC me on emails to these people, giving me an extra few inches on that heel of the shoe I'm getting in the door.

People are more than willing to help you, if they believe in you.

So don't give up yet!

-Chelsey The Job Hunter

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob

1 comment:

  1. Talk about leveraging and knowing oneself; what you are doing perfectly portrays the real you, which I'm sure has given you far more insight into yourself than you had prior to this endeavor. Whoever you decide to work for (not about who chooses you.. remember that) is very lucky to have you:) I just turned down a marketing job in boston ... my heart wasn't in it and the saying goes, "always follow your heart" ...

    Anyway, perfect advice on this post, C; I couldn't agree with you more on points 1-10! I'd also add (for fellow anxiety induced insomniacs), if your interview is in the AM don't take any type of sleeping pill b/c you're worried you won't get a good nights rest. Speaking from experience here, the sleeping pill hangover (melatonin, ty PM & nyquil in my case) can be just as bad as the alcohol provoked one and actually makes you feel worse than not getting a solid 6-8 hours of sleep.

    So my advice on that one would be to take a nice shower, drink a glass of vino if you have to, or have a cup of Sleepy Time tea (works wonders) and get into your nice clean sheets EARLY. Oh and don't bring any of your interview prep materials to bed!!! YOUR BED IS FOR SLEEPING, not working and it will only prohibit you from sleeping even more! Watch TV, read a mag ... whatever it is you have to do to unwind the mind ;)

    I'm headed to Ft. Lauderdale Monday AM for an interview with Zimmerman Advertising. I had my phone interview with them last week, so hopefully this goes just as well if not better (fingers crossed)!!!! Me being the way I am, I had to make sure I would feel at home while 1200 miles away from my bed, so I'm taking all my necessities (including my mom and sleepy time tee) and staying beach front in a nice heavenly bed (something I enjoy about Westin hotels) and have already booked a massage for Monday. My interview is at 9:30AM on Tuesday, so let's hope I can sleep this time around (unlike the last one in nyc this past friday, YIKES)!

    So, it's safe to say I'll have achieved all your top 10 "dos" and then some prior to my interview on Tuesday ... Although I am not getting my hair done per se, but the time will be taken to do it right.

    As for the manicure, I had to get silk wraps today (IF ANYONE BITES THERE NAILS, STOP NOW & go buy some sally hansen nail strengthener - the one that improves nails within 5 days) at your local pharmacy. It has definitely helped me as I've attempted to stop biting my nails since it is such an unhealthy and unattractive habit. I've been fairly successful (chels you'd be happy to know you were correct about my nail bed on my lack of a middle finger nail ... it did grow back). BUUUT, in order to FURTHER polish myself, I caved in and got silk wraps (but this time at a much nicer place than the one who half ruined my poor nail) and needless to say, I love them. But I recommend not choosing this route if you can avoid it ... as I have had some bad experiences in the past and real is always better than fake. I obviously got a pedi while I was there as well; but now the question is, do I wear open toe or closed toe?

    In closing my very long saturday post-social festivities post, I want to ask you, Chelsey, for some fashion advice (remember I'll be in Ft. Lauderdale) in regards to my suite, accessories & shoes ... So, I was going to wear white slim bootleg pants (pleated) with a lightweight light colored (either a faint green, or a light heather grey) tee with a white (hook & eye closure not buttons) jacket ... is that not okay? not sure about the shoes situation yet - and as for accessories was going to keep it to a minimal (watch, ring and maybe a simple long necklace)? your thoughts?

    Thanks for sharing all your thoughts, miss .. it's very helpful. If you get a chance to get back to me about my outfit before Monday (when I fly to FL), it would be so helpful! If not, no worries, just expect an annoying phone call from me tomorrow night.

    xx, J