New year, new career goals.
For some communicators, the beginning of the calendar year marks a time for establishing and pursuing fresh career objectives.
Whether you are a recent college graduate seeking that crucial entrée into the working world or you are looking to advance your career, nailing the interview is step one in the process of landing your potential dream job or getting that next promotion.
There are best practices that interviewees should abide by when it comes to interview preparation.
Over the next five weeks, we’ll be taking a look at Mandy Zaransky’s top five tips for a successful interview. As Ragan Communications’ chief marketing officer, she’s interviewed many marvelous candidates; she’s also observed some cringe-worthy performances.
One of the most stressful aspects of an interview is making sure you arrive in a timely manner. Of course, nobody wants to be late, but being too early, Zaransky says, could be equally detrimental.
With that, we tackle the first of her “Four P’s” of interview best practices: punctuality.
“Interviewers are busy, so they’re expecting promptness, but being too early signals that a candidate is likely desperate and possibly obtuse. In the world of interviewing, one is marketing themselves no matter the position and understanding your audience is Marketing 101,” Zaransky says.
She suggests arriving at the interview location seven to 10 minutes before your scheduled time. This shows that you are punctual, but also considerate of the interviewer’s busy schedule.
She is not alone in this notion.
In an article titled, “16 things you should do right before a job interview,” Business Insider careers editor Jacquelyn Smith and associate careers editor Rachel Gillett listed, “Arrive early, but don’t go inside,” at No. 1.
Few things can shake you more than running late to an interview, so always arrive early.
Experts suggest getting there 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
But be sure to wait in your car or a nearby café, as being too early can place unnecessary pressure on your interviewer and start the meeting off on the wrong foot, David Parnell, a legal consultant, communication coach, and author of "The Failing Law Firm: Symptoms and Remedies," previously told Business Insider.
Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, told Business Insider that you shouldn't walk into the office building more than 10 minutes early. "It can come across as an imposition, as if you are expecting the interviewer to drop whatever he or she is doing to attend to you."
Of course, it’s better to be early than late, but don’t wait in the office until your interview begins. Find a place close by where you can collect your thoughts. Do not show up to the location more than 10 minutes before your interview (unless otherwise instructed).
The Muse’s editor-at-large, Adrian Granzella Larssen, echoes that sentiment in an article titled, “One thing that’s killing your interviewer (before the interview evenstarts).” She suggests showing up to the location 20–30 minutes early, but she agrees that you should spend time in a nearby coffee shop or your car to compose yourself before walking into the office five to 10 minutes prior to the interview.
Ready to put your interview prowess to the test?
If you’re a communications veteran who loves the power of prose, Facebook seeks a communications manager/writer in Menlo Park, California.
Interested candidates should have a minimum of seven years’ experience in executive communications, journalism or speechwriting, along with a strong samples portfolio.
It summarizes the position:
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