To Fail to Prepare is to Prepare to Fail...
- Do your homework! It sounds simple but it's amazing the number of candidates who don't - lack of preparation will always find you out.
- Use your consultant as much as you want to help, for example you will need to dig a lot deeper into the firm itself (has it been in the news recently, what are the current challenges facing them?)
- Who are the personalities who you will be meeting - what are they like? Who are the key stakeholders?
- Do you know anyone who has worked for the organization - what's it really like to work for? Does anyone know the hiring manager? What are they like to work for?
- Make sure you have reviewed their website and Googled both the business and interviewer/s. Have they been in the business/HR press lately? If so, why?
- What is the format of the interview? Will it be competency based?
- Make sure you know your own CV! It looks dreadful if you need to refer to it for dates etc.
- Prepare any questions you may have - these may well be answered during the interview itself but you should always try to demonstrate the fact you have done your homework and have a questioning mind.
- Where are they based and what is your travel plan? What is the contingency plan if this breaks down? Do you have all the relevant contact details?
Most of us form an opinion on someone within the first two minutes of meeting someone new. So, first impressions really do count! It sounds pretty basic but make sure you arrive in good time, look the part (shoes and nails as one of my clients puts it!) and try to be relaxed and confident.
Make a good impression on whoever is showing you to the interview room - it may well be the interviewers PA (and they will always ask about what they think of you!). Stand up when your interviewer enters the room and meet them with a firm handshake, strong eye contact and a smile.
Whatever you do, always be you - behave naturally and never be negative about your reasons for leaving your current/previous company. After the meeting is concluded, feel free to ask about what the next steps may be - don't make assumptions though unless they tell you about the next stage.
It's really helpful if you can give us a call soon after your meeting. Try and give us some ideas about what was good and any concerns you may have. Did you forget to ask a question you still need answering? What is your instinctive feel for the company, people and so on?