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Job Interview Hints and Tips – Before the Interview

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Job interview hints and tips can help you prepare for that all important meeting. Preparation before the day of the job interview is a key part of the job placement process.

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Know where your interview is taking place

We work with one company that has five buildings on the same street, always confirm the complete address, including postal code, phone numbers, extensions and the nearest major intersection.

Having all the job interview skills will not help if you are in the wrong place.

The address is particularly important if you are meeting at a chain restaurant or coffee shop as there may be a few similar locations, maybe even on the same street.

If meeting at an off-site location request and give cell phone numbers with the person you are meeting in case of any last minute problems.

Golden Interview Tip:  “you can’t miss it” means “good luck finding it”.

Ask who you will be meeting with

If you are meeting with human resources and the director of sales you can prepare job interview answers and interview questions that will appeal both to human resources and to a promotional sales profile.

Golden Interview Tip:  be flexible as the meeting list will likely change.

Ask what the dress code is

You want to fit in, so it’s OK to ask what the dress code is.

Golden Interview Tip:  never wear jeans, even on casual Friday. Many senior managers are OK with casual Friday but do not follow the rule themselves.


Check out the interview location

If possible, do a dry run a day or two earlier to confirm where you are going and check on potential obstacles, one way streets, local construction etc. See if there is a security sign-in process and allow an extra 30 minutes to check in on arrival.

Golden Interview Tip:  road construction and detours will start the morning of your interview.

If the meeting is at a hotel or restaurant and food may be involved, this is one of the most important job interview hints and tips we know. Visit the location and read the menu to select something easy to prepare (served faster) and stay away from exotic foods, expensive dishes and foods that needs to be chewed or bitten through.

Check out the washroom so if you need the facilities when you are next there, you know where they are.

Golden Interview Tip:  whatever you preselected on the menu is no longer available, so have a second choice ready. No alcohol – period.

Research the position and the company


Review what you know about the position. Read the advertisement or posting for key words or phrases.

Search for the company online under the company name and phone number.

Golden Interview Tip:  do not say in words or writing that this is a company you really want to work for, unless it really is. Insincere statements are just that - insincere.

Prepare questions

Write ten questions that relate to the position and the company. Focus on challenges, opportunity, responsibilities, reporting structure and the customer.

Golden Interview Tip:  do not include questions that relates to money, vacation, benefits, time off, work hour, lunch breaks or personal issues.

Choose what to wear

Preselecting and cleaning what you will wear takes some of the pressure off the job interview and can help set the stage for you to show your interview skills.

Golden Interview Tip:  it’s going to rain or snow, so take a change of shoes with you.

Write it down

Write down all of the contact information in your notepad; time of the interview, where you are going and who you are meeting, plus all related phone numbers. If unsure of the location, include a hand drawn map showing the major intersections or print the directions from MapQuest.

Golden Interview Tip:  Knowing exactly where you are going means you will be calmer and more focused when you arrive.

Practice your handshake

To limp or too strong a handshake can create a negative impression. Best to be firm and professional rather than unsure or like a wet noodle.

Practice with friends and family and ask for feedback.

The standard rule is not to be the first to extend your hand. Wait to see what the interviewer does and follow the lead. They are the one controlling the meeting.

Golden Interview Tip:  if no hand is offered, do not take it personally. Some people just don’t like shaking hands.

Prepare a Summary statement

Create a four or five line summary statement about yourself and the skill set you “bring to the table”. Practice and learn to present this summary statement clearly and professionally so that when the asked the question, “tell me about yourself” you have a standard pat answer.

(see article: Tough Job Interview Questions – Be Prepared)

Your summary statement should highlight your skill set and strong points and can be modified from time to time to relate more effectively to the position you are applying for.

Remember: You never get a second chance to make that first impression.


- Simon A. Bull

Latest Blog Posts

  1. What we do not want to see on your resume Simon Bull 07-Mar-2015
  2. If only I knew what they wanted to see on my resume Simon Bull 21-Feb-2015
  3. Tough Job Interview Questions – Be Prepared Tyson Tredger 14-Feb-2011
  4. Job Interview Hints and Tips – The Interview Tyson Tredger 11-Feb-2011
  5. Job Interview Hints and Tips – Before the Interview Tyson Tredger 10-Feb-2011

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