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Time To Panic? Tips For Last Minute Job Interview Preparation

Apr 24, 2008
Working with candidates for jobs in travel quite closely, one question comes up time and time again: So, let's say you've been waiting for months for the perfect job interview to come along, and suddenly you have one, with one small catch. They're exceptionally keen (or pressed for time) and can only give you a last minute job interview? Less than 24 hours to prepare - is this time to panic?

Relax, this is what you wanted isn't it? And besides, 24 hours is ample time to get ready if you break the job interview preparation process down into its essential segments. Plus, if they're giving you just a day to prepare yourself, the chances are they will be more generous with their expectations when you arrive - and if they're not, then perhaps they're not the great company they first appeared!

But enough of the speculation - what are the key stages you NEED to ensure are done before you set foot into that office for the last minute job interview?

The first step of last second preparation for an interview is learning what it is you're actually applying for! If you know nothing about the company, head straight to the company's website, and look up any press releases they might have created. Take a good look around their website, and try to get an idea of the bigger picture: how does your position fit in with the company as a whole?

Next, have a good read of the job listing you applied for, and look at all the skills and experience it requires. Think of examples that demonstrate your perfect match for each one of those that can be rattled off in the interview scenario - bear in mind that although the aim here is to paint yourself as the ideal candidate, you won't gain any points for being unnecessarily verbose, so within your job interview preparation, work on keeping all your tales and examples to under two minutes.

Have a couple of questions lined up, to show your genuine interest in the role - some people really struggle with this one, but the truth is that you don't need to give yourself a headache thinking up a suitable question. What was the previous holder of this job like? Where does the department fit into the company? What are the department's current projects? These all work for jobs in travel, and there's no reason why they should not extend outside my expertise.

No preparation for an interview would be complete without readying some answers for the standard questions. Come up with effective answers to questions of why you're leaving your last job, where you see yourself in 5 years time, examples of your experience and skills and why you should be hired. This obviously isn't all the questions they can ask, but it gives you a good grounding for some of the more factual and less small-talk interview situations.

On top of this groundwork, you also must be absolutely prepared for making the best possible first impression. You can have the best preparation for an interview in the world, but if you turn up for it 20 minutes late, looking like you get dressed in the dark, then you will get nowhere. Prepare your clothes in advance and familiarize yourself with the company's location. Time permitting; it never hurts to head to the office before the day of the interview to ensure you know the route and how long it should take you to get there.

That last minute preparation for an interview call can be scary, but remember that they've called because they think you could be the person they're looking to hire, and they know as well as you do that it's short notice. Given that, follow these last minute interview tips, then they'll have another couple of skills to file you under: superb under pressure, and exceptional with deadlines.
About the Author
Gail Kenny is the managing director of Gail Kenny Executive Search, an executive travel recruitment agency specializing in jobs in travel. The site caters exclusively to talented individuals with skills and experience to succeed in the travel management, and businesses looking for such candidates.
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