Last Minute Interview Tips

Preparing for an interview is like staring into a mirror. We may not want to face ours fears.  We might be afraid of being unqualified, or making a mistake on the interview.  So, what is the best way is there to avoid all of this? Many of us pretend the interview is not going to happen and go into the interview “cold”, otherwise known as unprepared.

All of a sudden, you find yourself sitting in your car, or in a coffee shop a half hour before your interview with regrets and a stomach full of nerves, because reality is about to happen.  So, for all of you out there who may wait until the last minute or are just looking for some interview tips you can implement, here are 5 interview tips for the 30 minutes before your interview:

  1. Create a “Suitcase of Stories.” Read the internship or job description. Highlight the skills they are looking for in a candidate. Now, think about how you developed those skills and create your “suitcase of stories.”  Take out a sheet of paper or grab a napkin, and begin to jot down those moments in time and those experiences where you developed those skills.  Make sure you have several stories in your suitcase so you can pull out what you need during the interview.  The best stories are those that can be used for any multitude of interview questions.  Remember, just saying you are able to work under pressure is an empty claim without evidence or in this case a story to back it up.
  2. Jot down your best traits and your strongest skills.  In other words,  list the things about yourself that you want the employer to absolutely know about you before the end of the interview.  If you are feeling self-conscious and cannot think of much, ask yourself, “If my mom was bragging about me, what would she say?” or “What would my friends say about me?”  Jot these adjectives down on a piece of paper, and read it over several times. Become comfortable with the words with the goal that during the interview these words will naturally flow out of your mouth.  For instance, “Based upon my engaging personality and ability to empathize with others, I am able to develop strong relationships with customers.”
  3. Read your resume, know your resume, become your resume. Everything on your resume is fair game for an interview question. So, if you “beefed” up your resume with superfluous information, like the fundraiser you participated in a few years ago, you better be able to talk about it.  Furthermore, the more you review your resume the more likely you will be able to back up your answers with examples of things you have done whether it is your work experiences, school work, volunteerism or campus activities.
  4. Read the organization’s website.  Grab your smartphone, and get on the Internet.  Make sure you know about the company, what their mission is, who their clients are, what department you are interviewing with, etc.  Additionally, if you know who you are interviewing with beforehand, look them up on LinkedIn to gain a better sense of their background and how long they have been with the company.  The more you understand about the company and who you are interviewing with, the better you will be able to sell yourself, your experiences, and the relevant skills you have.
  5. Close your eyes, breathe, listen to some calming music, and empty your brain.  Take a moment or two, and relax.  Staying calm and even doing a short meditation will definitely ease those nerves and put you in a good frame of mind.

 Now, shut off your cell phone, straighten out your suit, put a smile on your face and go knock ‘em dead.

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Suzanne Pike

Suzanne Pike currently serves as the Director of Career Development & Assessment at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. She provides career counseling and job search coaching to students and alumni, as well as handles data management and outcomes reporting. Suzanne previously worked in human resources and in management consulting. She earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs from the University at Albany.