Take Note: Preparing for a Job Interview

It’s never too early to prepare for a job interview. Get started the moment you receive the call. Jot down notes with the following topics in mind:

  • The company’s mission. What is the goal? Satisfied customers, a great dining experience, technical help without a hassle? Find out and remember it.
  • Your job skills and abilities. Communication, problem solving, code writing, technical assistance, and fashion coordination?
  • Hidden talents—such as leadership in a crisis and conflict resolution.

You don’t have to write an entire essay or a perfectly executed document. Just jot down some notes related to the topics above so that when you’re sitting across from the hiring manager you have something concrete to refer to.

Keep in mind that he or she wants to know what makes you tick—as a person and as a professional. Specific examples help hiring managers ‘see’ what you’re talking about so they can envision you in the job you’re discussing. Vague references (I’m good with people or I never missed a day of work in three years) may win a smile, but not the job. Hiring managers are looking for professionals who can muster the physical energy and mental commitment necessary to take on the responsibilities the job requires, and to accomplish measurable goals.

Some job seekers are SOTP (seat-of-the-pants) interviewees. They feel confident their sparkling personality and engaging smile will do for them what they’re unwilling to do for themselves. Not true. As important as it is to be friendly and outgoing, employers are most interested in whether or not you fit the profile of the kind of employee they’re looking for. And they usually want to hear about previous work-related accomplishments and crisis management.

On the Spot Help

Your prepared notes will help you get through the rough spots if you get nervous or forgetful. Simply glance at the card, and then pick up from where you left off.

Should you memorize the facts rather than putting them on a card or paper? That’s up to you. But in the event you start feeling anxious your mind may go blank. So don’t put any pressure on yourself to commit all this to memory. Rather than risk embarrassment, be prepared with notes to get you through.