Interview Pre-Planning and Planning – Part 2

As we highlighted last month, we can never know for sure who will be sitting across from the desk and interviewing us for that dream job. So, let me reiterate, we cannot assume that we know what will be asked and how the interview will be conducted. Our best line of defense with the many unknowns of the job interview is “BE PREPARED.”

You’ve dressed appropriately, looking your best, carefully planned your route to arrive 15 minutes early. Your homework is done and you have a clear understanding of the position, a solid overview of the company and you are ready to put your best foot forward. Now what?

Have you Mentally Prepared?

Are you walking in with a confident, stress-free and capable attitude? Are you ready to project that you would be a positive asset to the company’s team? Enthusiasm and sincere interest go a long way so get your energy up and “put on a positive face.” A very simple technique to “psyche” yourself up before you head out the door is to look in the mirror and smile, several times. Try it enough times until you are laughing at yourself and feeling silly. It may sound funny, but it will lift your mood and boost your energy! And remember again to keep that cheery disposition all the way to the interview. You never know if the person you cut off in the parking lot, bumped into in the elevator or didn’t hold the door for coming into the building will be the person momentarily sitting across from you. Stay positive, unrushed, stress-free and friendly all the way through the process.

Copies, copies, copies. Have several, clean, unwrinkled copies of your well-written résumé. Again, think positively that the person you meet with can’t wait to show several people the résumé of the fabulous candidate that they just interviewed.

Be Aware of Body Language

Did you know that only 10% of of the message that you send is verbal? So, it’s not just how you say and what you say, it is also what your non-verbal is saying. Be aware of your posture, make eye contact and focusing when your interviewer is speaking. Do you have any annoying, unknown habits that could compromise your interview? Ask your friends, co-workers and family. Sometimes, we are not aware that we may play with our pen, sigh, roll out eyes, tap our fingers, nod our head too much, etc. Such habits may give unintentional yet negative perceptions to the interviewer such as impatience, disinterest and nervousness.

The Handshake

Still up for debate. People are never sure… firm, medium, does it depend on the gender of the other person… So let me offer to you the 5 Key Points of an appropriate handshake as cited in Interviewing: The Gold Standard, by Laura deCarlo, President of Career Directors International.

  1. Offer hand palm facing up
  2. Grasp firmly
  3. Look at the color of the person’s eyes
  4. Shake hands briefly
  5. Pull hand away cleanly with no sweep on palm

Lastly, be yourself. Remember that not only is the company interviewing you, but you are assessing whether or not the position, company, environment and people fit your needs. Be true to yourself and stay affirmative that if this is not your best match, you are prepared and o.k. with continuing your search.

Marlboro resident Michelle A. Riklan is a certified professional résumé writer, career coach and employment interview consultant. She can be reached at and her website address is