How to Prepare for a Last-Minute Job Interview
You’re on the hunt for a new job and suddenly a recruiter calls you for a last-minute interview. You get excited and you accept immediately. Now what!? How can you get ready and do your best when you have very little time to prepare.
Hopefully you’ve already done some things to be sure you are ready for just such a moment. If not, get these few things squared away for next time:
- Be sure you have several copies of your resume on hand. Don’t go to an interview without one.
- Also, it pays to have an “interview outfit” in your car or stashed in a handy place for an emergency.
- Of course, you’ve already prepared for the “Tell Me About Yourself Question” (Link to the article I wrote earlier this month – if it’s been posted) and have a story ready to tell that demonstrates how you’ll bring value to the company and help solve a challenge they’re currently facing.
- Keep a list of all the jobs you’ve applied for, the job title, the company and hiring manager’s name. If you’re applying all over the place, it may be hard to remember the details, so be sure to keep track. Don’t embarrass yourself by scrambling to remember what the job is and who’s calling.
Having these things already in place will go a long way toward reducing stress when you get the call for a last-minute interview. Now you can focus on this particular interview opportunity. Here’s what to do:
1. Find out who you’ll be interviewing with and check out their LinkedIn profile. Look for any common ground or interests you may share as well as the person’s job history and education.
2. Read the “About Page” on the company’s website so you’ll understand what the company’s focus is in the market and prepare a few questions. Scan the headlines of any press releases and check out Google News to see if the company is engaging in a big event, facing a restructuring, opening new locations, etc.
3. Know their target audience. Is this an upscale restaurant or hotel? Do they have a niche? What are they known for?
4. Carefully re-read the job posting and focus on the keywords. Prepare some strong examples of why you will fit in and have a few stories that show how you’re a match for those traits mentioned in the ad.
5. Figure out something to say that makes you memorable. Have you recently coordinated a similar event or been recognized for your outstanding customer service skills? Have you taken a class or earned a certification that is a perfect match for this job?
6. Be sure to brush up on your manners. No matter how stressed or harried you feel coming into this interview, treat the receptionist and everyone you meet with courtesy and kindness. Arrive early (but not too early – wait in your car until about 10 minutes before your appointment) so you won’t be delayed by traffic or unforeseen issues. Head to the restroom and do a last check of your appearance then relax in the lobby. You’re ready.