So, you received a call back for an in-person interview. Now what? The week leading up to the in-person interview probably deserves more effort and preparation than any other portion of the job search process. Here's a step-by-step guide on preparing for an interview.
The Day You Are Offered The Interview
These are some things you should do immediately after getting an interview:
Respond promptly -Waiting to respond may send a message that you're not interested (bad!) or have poor follow-up (also bad!). Respond promptly, thank the employer for the opportunity, and express your excitement without being over the top.
Ask about logistics -Aside from nailing down the location, it's generally acceptable to ask about the company's dress code and the names of those you'll be interviewing with. Avoid asking questions that you (or Google) can answer yourself (e.g. directions).
Clear your schedule -If you're currently employed or have other commitments, make sure the appropriate people know you will not be available on the day of your interview.
The Week Before The Interview
Your interview is a week away! Get prepared by doing the following:
Research the company - Even if you did this before applying for the job (which you should have!), it's time to revisit the company website, its blog and social media accounts, and recent news articles.
Research the hiring managers - If you know who the interviewers are, do a little research. Look for them on the company's team page and on online networks like LinkedIn. Try to get a feel for who the interviewers are and for the type of person the company employs.
Decide what to wear to the interview - Don't wait until the night before. Try on your interview outfit, ask others for their opinion, and make sure you don't need a trip to the dry cleaner or cobbler.
The Day Before The Interview
In order to be completely prepared for your interview, make sure to do these things the day before:
Review the job posting - It will be far easier to tailor your interview answers if the job description is fresh in your mind.
Practice answering common interview questions - There are certain questions you can expect to be asked during a job interview. Look up the generic ones as well as ones specific to your industry, then rehearse them with a friend, family member, or patient pet.
Prepare questions for the employer - At the end of an interview, you will be given the opportunity to ask questions. It's an important part of the interview and the questions you ask could make or break your chances of landing the job offer, so put some serious thought into them.
Map the directions - One of the last things you want to do is be late for your interview. Find how long it should take you to get there, then give yourself plenty of extra time in case you get lost, stuck in traffic, or detoured.
Gather your day-of materials - Even if the hiring manager doesn't ask, it's common practice to bring enough copies of your resume for yourself and for each of the interviewers. You should also bring a pen and paper to take notes, as well as anything else specifically requested by the employer. Other things to consider include mints, grooming materials, money for parking, and a backup interview outfit (just in case you spill your Starbucks all over your lap).
Do the obvious things - Go to bed at a reasonable hour and set at least one alarm.
Think positively - Visualizing a positive outcome has a surprising impact on real-life performance. Think about past successes and envision, in detail, a stellar interview in your mind.
What steps do you take when preparing for an interview?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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June 28, 2022
Technology is one of the largest budget items for an organization, but does it seem like employees aren’t using the systems as efficiently as they could be? I’ve found that the first step is to make sure you’re offering training to all of the employees—more than just handing them a user manual.
Your organization just purchased a brand-new system and wants to make sure they maximize the use of it. One key is to make sure everyone is trained so they understand how to use the system. Training is typically focused on when the new system is first implemented. Many organizations will have the vendor come onsite to train. Employees sign up to attend scheduled training sessions, or it may be a train-the-trainer scenario wherein designated trainers (department super users) train the rest of the organization. This gets your system implementation off on the right foot.
It would be considerably better if the organization offers continual training. This means providing formal training activities for new employees joining the organization months later, major system upgrades released annually, and when individuals simply want “refresher” training. Did you know that individuals typically only remember a fraction of the information from a training session?
The second step is to have a variety of training options. It’s important to understand that individuals learn differently (different methods and different speeds) as well as there may be various logistics to consider. For example:
- Some individuals will prefer instructor-led classes (either in-person or virtual) while others are audiovisual and like videos.
- Some individuals like to read materials on their own. There are even third-party vendors who provide specific training materials such as quick reference cards and videos for products such as Microsoft Office 365 as well as Acrobat and Windows.
- You can create custom self-paced courses using tools like Articulate leveraging PowerPoint slides.
- Post training materials on the intranet so all employees can access the information.
- If there is a large number of individuals to be trained and/or everyone can’t be gone at the same time, you may need to offer multiple sessions for a specific training course.
- If the organization has multiple locations, it may not be economical if individuals have to travel to attend in-person training sessions, so it may be more cost effective if the trainers travel or offer virtual training sessions.
- Not all individuals work Monday-Friday 9-5 pm, and may instead work four 10-hour days or “off-hours” (e.g. second/third shift, weekends) so it’s important to offer training to accommodate these schedules.
Even with the above differences, there are specific concepts that will help individuals retain what they’ve learned during training. This includes:
- Make sure the content is relevant (preferably with real-world examples), so individuals know how to apply what they’ve learned.
- If the topic is creating a new customer in the ERP, walk through the actual steps including required and valid values, and have an exercise wherein they actually practice setting up a new customer.
- When teaching individuals about Excel and features such as Pivot Tables, provide examples showing when/why/how to use a Pivot Table to analyze and categorize large amounts of data.
- If doing “train-the-trainer,” consider having the students do some role-playing.
- Provide some type of handout (student training guide) for individuals to take notes on.
- If it’s a “live” training session (either in-person or virtual), encourage individuals to participate in discussions. Engagement promotes retention.
- Provide students with the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned with exercises, quiz questions, etc.
- Create “cheat sheets” for common things like application-specific keyboard shortcuts/hotkeys, when there is a long list of valid value codes, etc.
A comprehensive and up-to-date training curriculum is an investment. Organizations that make this investment are demonstrating that employee development is important! Employees will appreciate the efforts to grow and make them more knowledgeable.
For more information on offering training to maximize the use of your technology, follow me on LinkedIn!
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