You should always dress professionally for an interview, even one that's last-minute. However, how formally you dress will depend on the office. Look at the company's social media profiles and see what type of attire people typically wear to the office. If it's an extremely casual office, business casual is appropriate. However, if you're interviewing for a corporate role, wear formal business attire.
Even if you have only a small amount of time before your interview, re-read the job description for the position to re-familiarize yourself with exactly what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Take note of the key experiences they want the candidate to have and the skills they are looking for. By having these top of mind, it will be easier to refer to them during your interview.
It's important to take even a few minutes to research the company prior to your interview, as it will ensure all general questions you may have had about the company are answered. It will also tell you what you need to know about the company's products and services, which is information you can refer to during your interview. Doing this can help you impress upon the interviewer that you took the time to do your due diligence, even though it was a last-minute interview.
Review the company's social media sites, about page, blog and any recent press releases. If you're short on time, scan the headlines so you are at least somewhat familiar with recent company initiatives.
If you are new to the industry, take some time to research the industry prior to your interview. Familiarize yourself with any trends that you could refer to during your interview and know who the major competitors in the industry are. Taking the time to research the industry will help you be better prepared, which will allow for a better discussion with the interviewer and more in-depth responses to questions. The interviewer will likely be impressed that you cared to do your research, which increases your chances of getting the job.
Think of a few career stories that you can draw upon during your interview. For example, it's a good idea to have stories about times you've solved problems in your position, how you acted as a leader and times that you worked as part of a team. If there are specific skills that are important for the position, it's important to identify stories you can use as examples to demonstrate your proven skills. For example, if the role requires strong collaboration skills, have an example of a time you collaborated with a team to achieve a goal.
Think of something that could make you stand out as a candidate for the interviewer, something that other candidates may not have that could make you memorable. For example, you might have some specific qualifications or transferrable skills that make you unique as a candidate. Perhaps you have a background in marketing that will give you a unique perspective as part of an IT team. Think through what makes you unique and the best candidate for the role.
Follow the company on social media and connect with any employees who work there. If time allows, you could even ask some questions about the company or the position in advance, giving you even more background information you could refer to during your interview.
Think through how you'll respond to some of the more common questions that interviewers ask, such as "tell me about yourself" or "why should we hire you." You may even want to write down responses to one or two of these questions and practice delivering them so you can answer them with confidence during the interview. It's also a good idea to review some of the most common interview questions that employers ask during interviews for your specific role.
Make a positive first impression with the interviewer by making eye contact, smiling and offering a firm handshake to everyone in the room prior to sitting down. These steps can convey confidence and make you instantly likable, both of which are great ways to start an interview.
Think through how you will end the interview, including questions you will ask at the end. If possible, ask questions that relate to something that the interviewer mentioned during your conversation, as this can show them that you were actively listening and engaged in the discussion. It's also a good idea to be prepared to ask other questions that further demonstrate your interest in the role. Before leaving, thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to interview for the position, reiterate your interest in the role and offer them another firm handshake.
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