After hours spent filling out an application and perfecting your resume and cover letter, you’ve made it this far. You’ve landed the corporate interview, and that’s half the battle. Finally, it’s go time.
Sure, corporate interviews are nerve-wracking. You can practically feel your heart about to leap from your chest – with excitement or fear, or both. A little bit of stress is good. It keeps you on our toes. But the worst thing you can do is overstress.
So, get your pencils ready and take notes! Here are a few things you’ll want to do before your interview.
Don’t walk into that room having no clue what you’re getting yourself into. Peruse the company’s website and maybe read a few press releases about the business. Based on what you find, write down a list of 5-10 questions to ask your interviewer. Remember, not only is an interview a way for an employer to see if you’re a good fit, it’s an opportunity to see if they’re a good fit for you.
You should be able to speak to every single point you listed on that carefully crafted piece of paper. Whether you spent the last two summers working at your own lawn mowing business or interning at a law office, come prepared with a couple anecdotes about each of your experiences. In those anecdotes, be sure to illustrate what challenges you faced and how you were able to solve them!
Even though there’s an old adage out there that says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, showing up in your best business professional dress or suit is always the way to go.
You’ve probably heard this one time and time again – but cut the filler words! Those little phrases like “um” or “uh” or “ya know” don’t lend themselves well to the person on the other end of the conversation. Oh, and related to point two above, filler words also indicate you don’t have a good feel for your own experience. Sometimes, avoiding filler words takes practice and a conscious effort to direct your speech. Find a friend and run through some basic interview questions so that you’re ready to go when the big day comes!
Now, technically this is a corporate interview tip for after your interview, but always follow up with a handwritten thank you note. Before you leave, make sure you collect the business cards of anyone you interviewed with so you have their contact information. Send an e-mail thanking them within 24 hours of your interview, but also go the extra mile and write a personal, handwritten note. It shows commitment, dedication, and good, old-fashioned professionalism. But remember to keep the stationary professional, too. It’s probably best to avoid those silly cards with the puppy illustrations.
So, do you feel ready to tackle your interview yet? Here, I’ll toss in one more bonus tip: breathe. You’ve prepared as best you can, so go in there, and rock it!