Preparing for the job interview

For fresh graduates, OJTs and professionals looking to switch jobs, interviews can be daunting. You have heard people give tips like “simply be yourself in the interview, bluff your confidence, have fun,” and all, but when it comes to the actual standoff against that stern human resource manager staring you up and down, you know you are in an entirely different ride.
Honestly, you can never really fully prepare for an interview, especially with all the new trends and techniques used by today’s HR managers. Some would conduct a group interview, give you an overwhelming stress test, intimidate and beat down your ego, while some would simply have that “tell me about yourself ” cliché, a smile and a soul-shattering “We’ll call you back.”
To give you a good idea on how you can prepare well for an interview, here are some tips you can try out:
Review your resume. Hopefully, you did not miss any vital information you need to include in your resume. Review it the night before the big day, so you can remain consistent with what you have included there. Know how to elaborate specific points in your resume, such as hard skills and work experience.
Dress properly. If the company requires you to wear a specific attire for the interview, then comply. Don’t try to work around it, like wearing light blue long sleeves when asked specifically to wear white, simply because it’s almost white anyway. But also don’t go overboard by wearing a full coat and tie or dress if it is not really necessary. If they don’t have required attire, go with a simple yet elegant look—the classic corporate attire for your age and gender.
Study the company. While some are busy trying to think of impressive descriptions of themselves, they often get caught off-guard when asked what they know about the company. They resort to generalized descriptions like “Company A is a shipping company,” “You are into designing for clients,” or whatever pops in their mind. Understand the company. Research about it through the Internet, read articles about it, watch videos, know if it won any awards, what are its linkages, specialties, and vision and mission.
Some companies also conduct on-the-spot examinations to test how well their applicants know the company, and sure enough, writing down in detail their vision and mission, and everything you can possibly know about them is a sure way to give you an edge against the others competing for the position.
Psych yourself up. Moments or at least an hour before the actual interview, mentally prepare yourself. There is no use in trying to imagine different scenarios in your head that only scare you half to death while you wait in the receiving area. Read some jokes, plan out what you will do for the rest of your day after the interview—anything to avoid making yourself unreasonably nervous.
Be punctual. The company will not wait for you, and you are the one that must follow its rules, so ready your alarm clock before you sleep. Treat punctuality as part of your application requirements that you must fulfill to get accepted. Settle down and observe the people. This may be the last chance to evaluate yourself and see if you wish to continue with your application. If you happen to get there an hour or 30 minutes before your scheduled time, you get to see how people work in the company. You can start asking yourself whether you will fit in with them, and whether you can handle similar workloads.
Finish earlier. Although you may have been originally set for interview at, say, 1 p.m., if you get there beforehand and the previous person has already finished their interview, you might be asked to have your interview earlier, and therefore finish earlier than scheduled.
Show your interest. Another benefit of being punctual is it being a sign of your interest to work. Being there on time tells a lot about you: that you are interested in being accepted, that you honor your tasks, and value punctuality at work.

*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-6, Sunday, June 22, 2014. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.