It’s important that you portray a positive personal brand during your interview. You need to demonstrate that you can be the professional person they want in that role; you need to show them that you’re a reliable person – someone they want on their team!
When preparing for an interview there are a few pieces I’ll suggest you consider thinking through ahead of time.
What to wear
Dress for the job you want.
Make sure your clothes are clean and your body is well groomed without any fragrances that could bother someone. If you need a haircut, get one. It’s important to feel confident walking into an interview or meeting someone over the phone. People say “even if you’re meeting over the phone, dress up for an interview” and they’re right. Your tone of voice, your energy level, and your attitude will be affected by the way you feel – and when you look good, you feel good.
If you aren’t 100% sure what is appropriate, ask. One rule of thumb to follow is to dress one level higher than the interview team.
Treat video interviews the same as you would an in-person interview.
Prepare ahead by selecting a well-lit space where you will have privacy and there will be no distraction, and, if possible, try not to be against a boring white wall. I recently learned of a man who had a video interview, so he put the laptop on the bed in his home office, so that his desk, books and shelves were behind him when he was talking – brilliant, and simple! Sit on a chair that will help you to sit up straight.
Set the video camera to be at eye level, so that you’re looking AT the person when you’re speaking. Look into the camera, not at your picture. This is the best way to create “eye contact” during a video interview.
When possible, use your computer for the video instead of your phone. If you have to use your phone, explain to the interviewer that is what you’re doing in case a call comes in or something. Best practice is to set your phone to Do not Disturb and test it out ahead of time. Make sure you’ve got a spot you can set your phone down that will capture your face properly. Make sure it’s stable and won’t move during your conversation. Don’t forget to put your phone at eye level, just as you would the camera for your computer.
Be ready ahead of time, test it out.
Visit the location of the interview ahead of time. Know where to park, know where to go, recognize any considerations you’ll need to make during your interview. Even for telephone interviews or video calls, if you’re able, visit the location of the job ahead of time. Take note of what others in the location are wearing, perhaps you’ll be able to dress similarly or one level higher.
Get a good idea of the job and build pictures in your mind of what it looks like when you work there. Imagine your desk or your work environment. Imagine walking into the building every morning – what are you wearing? What are you carrying? Where do you go? What do you do? Who do you do it with? Build mental pictures in your mind – this will make it much easier when you’re answering questions, and also when it’s your turn to ask questions.
In order to ensure maximum confidence and positive energy during the interview, practice a visualization exercise prior to logging into the call, or getting out of your vehicle. Imagine the walk into the building, your welcome, consider the location you expect to be interviewed in, get a sense of the people you were told would be interviewing you. Imagine yourself meeting the interview team, and anticipate some of the ice breaking conversation that may occur. Consider how confident you want to feel as the interview starts, and imagine yourself smiling and listening intently as the interview team speaks. Carry that confidence with you as you imagine the entire interview. Be sure to imagine the great feelings you are sure to have as you walk out of the interview, start to consider how you’ll celebrate when the meeting is over.
On-time for interviews means 10 minutes prior to the interview. Anything outside of the 10-15 minutes early range is likely going to be noted and considered by the hiring team. Arrive only 5 minutes before the interview and the team has already started to ask “Are they going to show up?” Arrive 20 minutes early and I assure you the team is looking at each other with all different sorts of questions in their minds.
It’s always important to ask questions at the end of an interview. Depending on the interviewer(s), you can ask for specifics of the team, the tasks, and projects. Otherwise, it’s best you’re at least prepared to ask about the benefits package or the social engagement of the team. Perhaps there are some community engagement activities that you’re aware of, asking about relevant things will demonstrate your level of interest in the role and the company.
Being prepared for the interview is something you work through from the moment you apply, to the time you thank the hiring team as you are walking out of the interview. Thinking through these things is only one portion of the interview preparedness process. You’ll find I’ve written two other interview preparedness blogs; Getting into the Right Mindset, and Questions and Considerations. I hope this information is helpful, please take what adds value and leave the rest.
Best of luck!
*I support job seekers who are legally entitled to work in Canada and who are willing to commit long term to their new employer. I focus on supporting Saskatchewan – people and companies. If you are interested in finding work within Saskatchewan or are looking for quality people to hire in Saskatchewan, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.