What do you do when you have only 24 hours to prepare for an interview? Even candidates with sufficient notice before the day have to put in significant effort to perform well. You’re probably wondering how much of a chance you’ve got. Fret not. The fact that you have got only 24 hours to prepare does not completely eliminate your chances of doing well. The limited time you have will force you to focus on what’s necessary.
Here’s a 3-pronged approach to tackling that emergency interview:
1. The Business: You should learn enough about the company to be able to answer any questions related to what they are all about.
2. The Job: Know what the job entails and be able to articulate what makes you a good fit. What competencies make you suited to the position? What experience do you have that qualify you for the job?
3. You: Know what you want from the job, your strengths, your weaknesses and your career plans. Be able to speak confidently about your experience, educational background and your goals for the future.
I recommend that you create a spreadsheet or jot the following points down in a notebook:
1. Introduction: Note down points about yourself, your education, work experience and personal qualities that make you a superb fit for the job.
2. Highlight what makes you special. Write down 2-3 notable accomplishments during the course of your career. Never undermine your experience. Take pride in it and share it with your employer; this is not the time to be humble.
3. Write down any future plans you have. Where do you want to be 5 years from now? If you cannot plan your life, how do you expect to plan the affairs of your employer?
4. Compose a killer closing statement. A great closing statement can help to turn the tide of any interview. It can be the difference between good and great. If it’s well crafted, you will leave a lasting memory of your performance in the mind of your interviewer and stand a higher chance of getting the job.
5. Write down 2-3 questions you can ask your prospective employer. These questions should be insightful, well thought-out and show that you have done your research about the company.
Go over your responses to the above points and be sure to get some practice so you can increase your confidence.
Also, remember that what you say is just as important as what you don’t say. Take note of these key points:
- Maintain eye contact at all times
- Avoid the use of fillers; it’s ok to speak perfectly
- Adopt a power pose before you go in for the interview to boost your confidence
- When describing your experience, don't use, "we". This can undermine your contribution. Take charge and use "I" to describe your contributions.
Keep a record of your responses as part of what I like to call the 24-Hr interview package. This pack (excel sheet or jotter, whichever one works for you) should contain responses to popular interview questions that you should always have at hand. This way, you don’t have to receive an interview invite before preparing your responses.
Now, hurry up and get started.