Applied to job(s)? Check. Phone call for an interview? Check. Interview? Not yet.
Pre-interview prepping is crucial and can make you a standout applicant in the pool. This can seem tedious and you may not think you have time for it with everything else already on your plate. However, it shows the interviewers that you are educated about the company, what they do and stand for, and what’s to come.
Where to start: the “About Us” section. This is where I’ll first get an idea about the company, their mission, and leadership. You can learn a lot about a company from these few paragraphs. This is also good to look at before even applying to decide if you might even be a good fit for the company. For me, if I don’t stand with the company values, I might find it hard to see myself working there.
Next up: research. For whatever type of job you’re looking for, whether it be management, research, clinical work, or design, look at what the company is currently doing. As someone looking for bio-based research, I’ll do this by reading recent publications by the particular research team. It’ll show the employer that you know what they are focusing on, what they found, and it’s a good point to ask questions about the research. Asking questions is always a difficult thing to do, but this at least gives you content to ask about.
These two points of “work” before the interview will make you more prepared going into the conversation. You’ll learn about the company and the kind of work you might be a part of, while showing the interviewers your interest in the work.
So imagine this: you are at a job interview, about 5-10 minutes early and are now in the interview waiting room, waiting for your interviewer to come down to meet you. This time waiting can actually affect your interview, so what you do (and don’t do) might have an impact on how your professionalism appears to the interviewer.
Do: Look over your resume. I remember being told in my co-op class to bring multiple copies of my resume in a fancy portfolio to interviews to provide interviewers with. Since your resume is most likely the only piece of paper they’ll have of yours, you better know what your own resume says! Hopefully you’ve reviewed it before, but a quick read over in the waiting area shows whoever might be watching you that you are committed to this interview.
Do: Have good posture. This carries over into the interview as well, but sitting up straight is important. The way you are sitting may be the first time your interviewer sees you and this also may impact how your reflection of professionalism. It’s not too long of a time frame, so straighten that back a bit!
Don’t: Play on your phone. I feel as if this varies. I’m the kind of person who says its a no, but we’re all entitled to our own opinion. Being on your phone can show that you are preoccupied with something else, such as emails, text messages, your social media, or myabe the latest level of Candy Crush. Tuck that phone away (on silent!) in your bag or pocket when you walk into the waiting area. You’ll look ten times more professional and can use the time to focus on the interview, not on other aspects of your life. (I promise they’ll still be there when you’re finished with interviewing.)
Do you ever feel so busy that you actually wish the day was longer so you could do it all and still get some sleep? Agreed. I look at my planner and Google calendar and come near a panic attack sometimes, but staying organized is essential to make the day not have to be longer in order for you to cross off all the items on that to-do list. First step: make a to-do list. Write it in your planner, on a post-it, on your wall, wherever. But write it down. It will help you realize all the little things you have to do and it allows you to pick a starting point. Maybe you want to do a few smaller tasks just to diminish the list a bit or start tackling a larger project to get some headwind on it. Whatever it might be that you choose to start, having it written down on paper or electronically lets you visualize all of the little (and big) tasks you might have that day.
Next, figure out what actually has to get done today. Many times, a few of the jobs can wait a day or three. And it is totally okay if they do. For me, these usually include: cleaning/laundry, printing out documents, and other smaller jobs. It helps prioritize what is important.
Finally, just do it! Sit down and get a head start on your day. If you know what is truly important and what has to get done, you can do it. You have the tools to make that priority list and all it takes is 5 minutes to do so. I guarantee it is 5 minutes you will want to spend time on.