How to Prepare for an Unexpected Interview


Not all job interviews occur on a tidy schedule. Sometimes an unexpected event leads a manager to call and ask if you can interview right away, or within 24 hours. Such a quick schedule often means an employer is motivated to find a candidate and is very interested in you, so those calls are often excellent opportunities. Preparing for an unexpected interview, however, means maintaining a constant state of interview readiness during your job search. To make sure you’re prepared, keep the following tips in mind:

– Ask for some time. No reasonable interviewer will expect you to be available at a moment’s notice. If the call flusters you, ask to reschedule in the near future. You may be able to move the interview to the following day, or at the very least to later in the same day. In addition, if you do decide to proceed with the interview immediately, be sure to take a second to center yourself and clear your mind.

– Know the highlights and weak points of your resume. Review your application materials periodically during your job search so that you know which parts of your history you want to highlight during an interview. You should also be aware of which parts of your resume are weak so that you can address them if the interviewer brings them up.

– Keep your interview outfit ready. If you end up with a same-day or next-day in-person interview, you don’t want to waste precious preparation time scrambling to get a suit or skirt cleaned. Make sure your go-to outfit for job interviews is ready to wear throughout your job search.

– Be able to articulate your top achievements. Along with the strong and weak points of your resume, you should be able to rattle off your most impressive achievements at a moment’s notice. You’ll do especially well if you can explain how they contributed to an employer’s bottom line.


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