In a perfect world, every job interview would get scheduled in advance, with at least a few days to prepare. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. So, what do you do if you are asked to interview in 24 hours or less?
Do as Much as You Can Ahead of Time
Give yourself the most time to prepare by taking care of as much as you can ahead of time. This will allow you focus on task at hand, and accomplish more in a short period of time. Furthermore, you will go into the interview more relaxed, prepared and confident.
1. Have Your Outfit Ready
Keep at least one clean, crisp, professional outfit on hand at all times, so you can get cleaned up at a moment’s notice. When you only have a few hours to prepare for a job interview, there isn’t time to take your clothes to the dry cleaner or run to the store to purchase something new. Never underestimate the importance of being dressed to impress!
2. Prepare Your Interview Space Ahead of Time
Designate an area of your home as your interview space. Make sure that it has a strong internet signal, good lighting, that noise is minimal and that it is decorated in a way that appears professional. Do your best to keep it tidy, so that you’re not wasting precious time, scrambling to clean at the last minute. You could consider utilizing a virtual background, but don’t assume that it will be perfect.
Don’t forget the basics. Aside from the distracting clicking and clacking sounds of a keyboard and mouse, it will also be more difficult to type notes or refer back to your resume on the computer screen while you are actively interviewing. Keep a pad of paper, a few pens and a printed copy of your resume within arms reach so that you can quickly refer to your resume or jot down a note.
3. Test the Technology
While you can’t anticipate every possible technical problem, you can minimize the risk by testing ahead of time. Aside from just making sure the internet signal is strong, ensure that it doesn’t drop. Ask a friend to meet with you to test out typical platforms (such as Zoom) ahead of time This will help you verify audio and video quality and confirm that you and the area present well. This will also help you become familiar with the features and ensure that you are comfortable when the time comes.
After the Interview is Scheduled
Feeling panicked about a last-minute interview is natural, but try to stay calm by concentrating on the task at-hand. As much as possible, hit pause on everything else going on around you and channel all your efforts into interview preparation. Here are 3 tips to help you do that:
1. Review the Job Description
Spend a few minutes carefully reviewing the job description. Pay close attention to keywords describing the ideal candidate — e.g., excellent team player, works well under pressure — and prepare a few examples explaining why you embody these traits. In addition to noting the areas where you excel, be aware of areas where your skills and experience could be considered lacking and prepare a response to address the gaps.
2. Briefly Research the Company
You will be asked what you know about the company, so start cramming. The hiring manager will not expect you to recite a detailed history, but having at least some knowledge about its products and services, history and client base is a must. Quickly review the organization’s website and social media profiles to learn about its culture, and do a quick search for news posts to see if they have made any big announcement or received any honors recently. Use this information to explain why you you want to work for this organization and why you would fit right in with the team.
3. Prepare a List of Questions
Interviewers expect candidates to ask questions. It not only shows you were engaged throughout the interview process, but also that you’re truly interested in the opportunity. Have a few ready in case none come to mind during the meeting.
General questions, such as “How is success defined for the position?” and “What do you expect the selected candidate to achieve during the first 90 days on the job?” are great inquires to have top of mind. Try to take it one step further noting a few comments and questions during your research into the company. Make use of your time by scanning through photos on social media or their website. Pick a couple to reference, maybe the pictures of the team volunteering at the local park or celebrating a win after a softball game. In addition to showing your interest, you’re now learning about the culture and the values that matter to the organization.
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