This month's life tips is over Interview Preparation.
There are two main parts of an interview - the information and the presentation.
Your documents: First and foremost, have at least one copy of your resume with you. Maybe three just to be safe in case multiple people interview you - demonstrating that you show up prepared, and being able to hand them each a copy can really make a good first impression that you are serious about wanting the job. It’s not as important to have a copy of your cover letter with you, but couldn’t hurt (not all jobs may need a cover letter though - it would ask for one in the initial application process). Another resource is a portfolio, depending on the job. If your experience relevant to the position can be illustrated in printed visuals, put together a portfolio! For example, if you work in GIS and make digital maps, have some final products printed out. If you are a model, have some prints to show in person. If you are an artist, an architect, if you have written something that was published in a magazine - having these to show can be pretty great!
Examples of prior work, accomplishments, etc.: Be prepared to explain prior experiences - this definitely includes a time when you managed a project, found a solution, dealt with conflict, etc. Also do research on how to turn a negative (like your ‘worst trait’) into a positive. Ask others what you are good at, if you feel like you may have trouble selling yourself.
Knowledge of the job you are applying for, and the company: Company-specific prep - reread the job posting, look into the company - its goals, values, history, etc. Don’t show up only knowing the name of the company. Of course you want a job - show that you want THIS job at THIS employer. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions! What size team would you be apart of, what projects have they been working on recently.
Your outfit: Clothes and appearance - this differs based on the type of job somewhat; for example if interviewing at a law firm a suit may be expected, while a teen at a grocery store may just want a nice blouse. Generally speaking, nice slacks or a skirt with a nice blouse or button down shirt is appropriate. ABsolutely no sandals or tank tops. Keep it simple, and make an effort to dress nicer than you would on a daily basis at that job - for example adding a blazer or sportcoat if you want to look more formal. Generally the goal is to be presentable and polished! In some settings, more style and personality may be appropriate, such as fashion places.
Your hygiene: Make sure you showered; the last thing you want to do is waltz in with a breeze of body odor following in your wake. Makeup isn’t mandatory, but be clean with brushed teeth and decent hair.
Your attitude: Be respectful. It’s okay to be nervous and even better to show that it’s because you CARE and want this job!
Your body language: Make eye contact, smile, be polite and friendly. It’s fine to show a bit of personality, but don’t slouch or avoid their gaze. Stay open, like sitting up decently and keeping your hands out of your pockets and not folded over your chest.
3 things to consider:
1. Can you do the job
2. Can you work well with others
3. Do you care and want the job.
Potential employers will want to feel that you meet all three of these criteria. If you are knowledgeable and have good people skills but forget which interview you are at, then clearly you are not committed. If you are friendly and earnestly want the coding job but you’ve never written code in your life, then you also may not fare well. And lastly, if you want the job and know how to do it but you can’t communicate with others, don’t know how to work as a team, avoid others or boss them around constantly, still not good.