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Preparing for an Interview

Forgive us if some of these suggestions appear too basic. One would be surprised how often these simple approaches are overlooked by job seekers, even senior executives.

Before you go...

1 - Research
Learn about the company for whom you wish to work. Learn about the products or services offered in addition to the target markets they address. Develop an understanding of the issues facing the industry and the hiring company’s position within the marketplace. What is unique about the company and its products? How do they make money? What does the company believe is valuable about their brand? What is the regulatory environment within which they operate? Are there new technologies to be employed within your particular function? Obviously your research will be guided in part by the position you are considering.

2 - Clothing
Unless expressly told not to, one should always wear a two-piece suit to an interview. If you haven’t purchased a suit in the last five years or if what you have is ill-fitting, buy a new one. Consider your shirts and ties as well to ensure they reflect current colors and patterns. Several days before your interview, check your intended outfit for any stains, missing buttons or collar stiffeners. You do not want to undermine a successful interview by being self-conscious of a last minute discovery. Make sure your clothes are well pressed.

3 - Grooming
Get a haircut, shine your shoes, and make sure your nails are trimmed. For women, nails should be recently polished in a neutral shade. 

4 -  About you
Prepare extra copies of your resume, reference list and any reference letters, one set for each interviewer. Take a legal pad or organizer for note taking and check that you have a pen. Review your employment history for successes and challenges, as these will be addressed in some depth. It will be easier for you to discuss what is most relevant if you have refreshed your memory in advance.

5 - Your interviewers
Do some preliminary research on the people with whom you will interview. Conduct Google searches to see where senior leaders may have been quoted in the industry press. You might also gain some insight into their personal interests which could be helpful in building rapport. 

At the Interview...

1 - Arrive 10 - 15 minutes early
Leave yourself plenty of time to ensure you are prompt.

2 - Treat everyone you meet with professionalism and courtesy
Clearly this is the right way to behave in any business situation, however one never knows whose opinion counts with the hiring manager – be it a secretary, maintenance person or security guard.

3 - Shut off your cell phone
Extend the same courtesy to your interviewer that you would expect.

4 - Answer the question being asked
Listen carefully to the question, make a note if necessary and answer it thoughtfully. Be aware of non-verbal clues demonstrating that your interviewer wishes you to either continue or conclude your answer. If the interviewer is not making eye contact for prolonged periods, attempts to interrupt you, or otherwise appears disengaged, it could be a sign that you are answering the question in too much or irrelevant detail. If you have any doubt, ask if you should continue and if you are answering the question appropriately.

5 - Always thank the interviewer for their time
Offer a firm handshake and make eye contact with each interviewer prior to leaving their office.

6 - Call A-Player Search after the interview
Discuss what went well and what you may have concerns about. You will be provided with a user name and password to give us on-line feedback on each of your interviewers.

7 - Send a thank you letter or email
Thank each interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the position as well as your confidence in your qualifications. It is inappropriate to send thank you gifts.

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