There’s plenty of information out there about the do’s and don’ts of preparing for a job interview, but below are the top 6 below-the-radar tips that actually have a huge impact on your chances of landing the job.
Research, research, research. I can’t stress enough how important it is to arrive at an interview with hours of research under your belt. Google and Wikipedia should become your best friends, if they’re not already. If there’s something major going on with the company, you should know it.
When I interviewed for the NBC Page Program, I was asked to name 5 NBC Universal properties. With no preparation, I might have gotten stuck at 2 (umm…Bravo? Does USA count?). Thanks to my diligent research, I could easily rattle off obscure and popular properties alike (take that, iVillage).
Research should extend beyond the company to include the person you are interviewing with. Oftentimes you’ll know the name of your interviewer in advance. Take advantage of that. Make sure you’ve looked them up on LinkedIn and have Googled their name. When Googling a person, make sure you’re getting the right person by putting their name in quotes and including the company’s name. It’s always smart to walk into an interview well educated, and avoid embarrassing missteps by learning whatever you can about the people you’ll be meeting with.
I once arrived at an interview 5 minutes late. I was dog-sitting for my sister’s adorable puppy and our morning walk took longer than expected. By the time I left, I was already cutting it too close. The subway was slow to arrive and when I got off on 34th St, I was overwhelmed by the exit choices and took the wrong one, leaving me an avenue and 3 blocks from my destination. Needless to say, when I arrived, the first question I was asked in the interview was, “Why are you late?” I had tons of excuses, but there was nothing left to do. I clearly wasn’t getting that job.
Never cut it close. Always leave yourself ample time to find the office, look for parking, find the right floor, etc. Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early. After hours of preparation, anxiety, and outfit selections, it would be too bad to lose a job because you didn’t leave 5 minutes earlier. Those minutes matter.