Here are a few things I think can help on an interview. There’s all kinds of information on the web talking about needing to dress sharp, firm handshakes, practicing for interview questions, blah blah blah. Those are all pretty important, but I’m going to reiterate things I think are important.
1) Be grateful even before the interview. You’ve been unemployed, or underemployed, or employed seeking new opportunities, or bored, or whatever. Not every company is going to give you the greatest benefit and a huge salary increase. They are taking time out of their day because there was something specific that caught their eye. They could be interviewing another MBA student or brilliant scientist, or closing a million dollar deal or something else important. However, they were willing to take the time out of their day to schedule a meeting to hear you out. They didn’t need to, they could have thrown out your resume or application, but they didn’t.
2) Visit their website. There is so much you can learn about a companies products, values, and whatnot on their website. They tell you what kind of jobs are available, they probably have a huge rundown of what your job will be. The website will tell you about new and upcoming products, and it’ll even probably give you hints about the type of image you need to possibly have. Are they a company seeking diversity? Are they a company looking to expand? Are they a company that’s more of a laid-back casual company or corporate? This is stuff you can learn just by visiting the website. Although there are some exceptions. Plus this gives you stuff to talk about.
3) Look up their earnings reports on seekingalpha.com. A friend of mine gave me this advice before I had my first interview with a fortune 500 many years ago (I didn’t get the job, but the experience was interesting speaking to the manager). It is the one piece of advice that has always gotten me a good “response” from the interviewer regardless of whether I got the job or not. Basically every 3 months (quarter of a year) all major companies need to put out an earnings report where the big important C-level execs talk about strategies, plans, losses, gains, and every piece of important information you will need to know about their business. They are presenting these reports to huge investment companies like Goldman Sachs so that they may acquire more funds.
You are going to interview to work for a BUSINESS. You need to know about the business. The information in these reports are extremely valuable. Visiting the website is basically like seeing the cover of a book, and the synopsis about the back. You know what it’s going to be about, and you can kinda judge the theme. The quarterly report is basically like reading the highly detailed sparknotes, but they must go hand in hand if you don’t want to look like you just “looked at the sparknotes” like you did for your highschool book report.
4) Read through as many articles on success by your favorite business people. Branson, Icahn, Mark Cuban, Buffett, Bill Gates. Whoever your favorite is, is probably going to have an impact on the job you’re trying to get. Maybe you’re trying to get with a huge film production company, then maybe you’ll be looking more towards James Cameron, or if you just want to be a pitchman, then you could look to a bio with Billy Mayes. These articles will help you focus on what you want. You could sit in your room and go over possible interview questions, but those articles will help motivate you to do better, and help you zone in on things that are important to you. The interview should be as much a learning experience for you as it is an opportunity.