Interview preparation 101

I am amazed at the number of people who turn up for interviews barely prepared for what is to follow. Apart from the usual answers to a list of usual questions and hoping that luck will intervene at some point to help them snag the job, little else seems to be offered from the candidate’s side. On the other hand, a well prepared interview is akin to a well versed poetry that flows, people can forge bonds, build rapport within that 10-15 minute window.

In my opinion, the more you interview, the better your art of interviewing becomes. A matter of practice like everything else and anything that is worth doing, should be done well. Below is my check list of activities to undertake before and after the interview.

When you receive the call for the interview:

1. Make sure you catch the name of the person who is calling you. Even if it is only the receptionist who has called you, knowing that name will ensure that you have an instant conversation starter when you appear for the interview on the appointed date and time. Example – “good morning Ms. Seema. Thanks for calling that day. I am here for the interview with Mr. So and So at such and such time.” followed by a simple observation “I like the design of the office, how long has the office been located here?” A simple greeting with the name, followed by a comment/observation or question is more likely to garner a response or start a surprisingly useful conversation.

2. While reconfirming the date and time of the interview, double-check the name of the person that you will be interviewing with. I have seen a number of candidates turn up for interviews with a date and a time but no idea of who they are interviewing with. Not a good impression when the receptionist has to spend 15 minutes calling around to find out who called for the interview in the first place.

3.  Double check the address, ask for direction if needed and if you do not know the area, ask someone who does, this can save you from running around on the interview day itself trying to locate the office and losing precious calmness in the ensuing worry.

After you have received the call for the interview:

1. Do a little research on the company that you will be interviewing with. When did they open? Who were the founder(s)? What is their core product/service? Who are the customers? What is the company vision and mission? Google search for company website can yield an amazing amount of information, read up on relevant news paper articles, blogs etc.

2. Research the product / service area that you will be engaged in, include customers and competitors in the search.

3. Last but not the least, run a search on the person that you will be interviewing with. A simple search in LinkedIn or Face Book can yield an amazing amount of information on a person’s professional history. Recruiters do these quite routinely now on candidates, so make sure your online presence reflects who you are and who you want to be.

Day of the interview:

1. Give yourself a pep talk. Pray, meditate, deep breaths are all ways of achieving a calm & collected state of mind.

2. Prepare well in advance, have your clothes laid out a couple of hours before, get ready and out of the house with plenty of time in hand. Account for last-minute mishaps of a torn hem, difficulty finding public transport or an unusually large traffic jam.

3. Any papers that you have been asked to  bring to the interview should be collated and put in your bag/briefcase the night before. You do not want to be hunting for that long-lost educational certificate a couple of hours before you leave for your interview.

4. At the interview, introduce yourself, remember to smile, shake hands firmly, speak calmly but be assertive. Avoid rambling, speaking too fast or too slow and do not engage into a tirade of all the wrongs done to you in your previous employment. Anyone with a big chip on the shoulder is a major red flag for an interviewer.

5. Avoid the temptation to inflate your achievements. You will be asked to deliver as per your capability and anything that you say can be checked out by the interviewer. Lying about your qualification or capability can be a very negative strike against you.

After the interview:

1. Remember to thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to interview with them.

2. Write a follow-up note, email reiterating the same within the next 2 business days.

3. Research further any other points that may have come up during the interview. This makes for great conversation fodder during the 2nd round of interview that are bound to take place if you have prepared well.

Good luck and happy preparation!!!!

Posted on February 23, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. All are very basic/useful/important tips and someone who is not aware of these or does not follow should not be in the interview itself! But just my thoughts only!


    • livingvoraciously

      Well that’s how I feel as well, specially the higher you go the more you need to be prepared. Recruiters who are not prepared for the interview also surprises me and I’ve seen a few of that too 🙂


  2. A young man I know got a job with a good company and was told before he reported for work to read the company manual online. He was asked the first day if he had done so and said …welllll some of it!!! You can imagine the impression that made and because of that the offer of a full-time position was reduced to a 3 day a week job.

    Before the day was over he was told that he did not seem to have the experience that he intimated at the interview…

    But because of the lack of ‘his’ motivation he decided not to bother going back the next day.

    And to think he took the job away from someone who probably deserved it more in the first place.


    • livingvoraciously

      So very true and I have seen this happen too.


    • livingvoraciously

      2 of my colleagues just went through something similar, they interviewed a candidate who clearly didn’t fit the profile, but the candidate asked for a second chance and just blew it even worse. Whatever doubts there were the first time around, was confirmed the second time around. Real classic foot in the mouth moment for this unfortunate candidate who just didn’t take the time to prepare well.


  1. Pingback: Interview preparation 102 « Corporate Skirts

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