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Successfully Navigating The Interview Process

Congratulations! Your Account Executive just called to arrange an interview with a company that sounds perfect. Now what?

Interviews can be very stressful. It is not uncommon to feel as if your entire future is riding on the outcome. Fortunately, AppleOne has systems in place that will help you sail through the interview process with flying colors.

Get All The Information
When your Account Executive calls to schedule an interview, make sure you have all the information you need before hanging up the phone. If you don't have a pen and paper handy, get them. Don't trust yourself to remember all the information your AE will give you.

Be certain you know who you will be meeting and when you will be meeting with them. Your AE will also provide you with detailed driving directions. This is crucial, so if something doesn't seem clear, stop and ask them to explain it to you better.

Many AE's will schedule a short prep session just prior to your interview. During this constructive period, the AE will help you focus on what is important to your potential new employer. This can be an incredibly valuable time. It's almost like having the answers to a test in advance, so be sure to request this strategy time if your AE forgets to mention it.

Dress The Part
Now that you know where you're going, it's time to decide what to wear. Make this decision before the big day. It leaves one less thing for you to worry about on the day of the interview, and it gives you time to improvise if your first choice is at the cleaners. Always remember that people are judged by the clothes they wear. Select clothing that projects an image that is professional and appropriate to your job. If you are at all uncertain, ask your Account Executive. You might even want to take a couple of possibilities with you to your prep session (remember to tell your AE in advance and allow extra time if you plan to do this).

Scout The Location In Advance
If time allows, it can be very helpful to drive to the location the night before. This ensures that you will be able to easily find the location the next day. There's nothing worse than trying to go into an interview still worked up because you were lost or feared that you would be late. If you can't manage to drive by the night before, at least allow yourself a 15 minute cushion before the time you have to be there. Even if you have driven past the night before, this cushion is a good chance to collect your thoughts and transition into interview mode.

Plan Your Agenda
Interviews are a two-way process. Even though the interviewer sets the tone, you should know in advance what you would like to communicate. If you haven't already, make a list of your accomplishments. Put these into the context of concrete examples as much as possible. For instance "I'm very organized" is not nearly as effective as "I established a new tracking system for my previous employer that raised productivity by 13%."

With your list of accomplishments in mind, determine which accomplishments would be most valuable to the interviewer. Your AE knows exactly what the company is looking for and will be able to help you pick your 3 biggest selling points. These are what you want to stress whenever possible. Just don't be a robot. Keep your ears open for cues that they would value some of your other accomplishments and drop these in where appropriate.

Make Your Nerves A Plus
Don't worry if you are nervous before an interview. Even the most experienced actors suffer stage fright before going on each night. Once you get in there, your nerves will probably disappear. Go ahead and use your extra 15 minutes in the car to relax a little. Mentally go over what you want to get across. Picture yourself having a great interview. When you're ready, take several slow, deep breaths. Feel yourself relax. Put on your biggest smile, and go have the best interview of your life.

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This company has a great staff with a wonderful attitude toward helping you get to the next level in your career. I say check them out and give them a chance to see what they can do for you.

- Shelia Martin -


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