Do your homework and check out the potential employer's website. Ask around. Find out as much as possible about the company before your interview. Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions. This will make you feel mentally prepared.
Sample questions that you need to be prepared for:
- What are your short/long-term goals?
- Why are you leaving your current employer?
- How would your boss and co-workers describe you?
- Give me five words that describe you.
- What are your biggest professional accomplishments up to this point in your career? 6. What do you like/dislike about your current role?
- Tell me about a situation that didn’t go as well as you would have liked.
- How do you handle difficult situations?
- What interests you most/least about the position that we have here?
- Why should we hire you?
Once you’ve accomplished this, the next step is to prepare challenging/insightful questions to ask them about their company and the position itself. Stay away from questions that clearly took no thought. Make it known that this interview was important enough for you to do a little homework beforehand. Build your questions from the research that you conducted. You will usually get the opportunity to ask a few questions towards the end of the interview. This is typically one of your last chances to impress your interviewer and it’s their last impression of you; therefore, plan to make it count.
Bring extra copies of your resume. Find out how many people you will be meeting with and add 3, you never know who might pop in unexpectedly. You’d rather have extra copies on hand than apologize for not having a resume for a last minute addition. Bring a copy for yourself as well. Be prepared to elaborate on any point that the interviewer wants to discuss. Print these out the day before your interview and put them in your portfolio. Bring a good quality pen. If you are planning to bring a briefcase have everything in it ready to go the night before.
Feel your Best
Get a good night’s rest. Avoid alcohol the night before. Give yourself enough time to get ready. If it’s an early morning interview get up early enough so you have time to get ready, eat breakfast and gather your thoughts. Bring your best attitude.
Ladies: Proper Grooming
Everything counts when you are making a first impression. Hair should be neat. If it’s longer than shoulder length you may want to consider wearing it up. When applying make up, go for the natural look. Nails should be manicured with a neutral color. Bring mints so you are sure to have fresh breath. On that note, if you’re a smoker save it until after the interview, just in case you share a small room with a non-smoker. Leave the gum and candy at home. Do you have a choice for eyewear? If so, go the conservative route, no color contacts or fancy frames. Skip the perfume today.
Ladies: Dress the Part
Look conservative and professional. Wear your best suit with a 2 to 3 inch heeled classic leather pump. If you’re wearing a belt, match it to your shoes. Shoes and belt in good repair. Clothing should be tailored to fit properly. If you don’t think it fits you right, it probably doesn’t. Keep jewelry simple, professional and to a minimum. Save the fancy hosiery for another day. Choose to bring a handbag or a briefcase but not both. Too much juggling will make you look clumsy. Keep your raincoat and umbrella close by in case the weather calls for it.
Men: Proper Grooming
Make a great first impression from head to toe. Hair should be neat. Need a haircut? Get a haircut! Your face should be clean-shaven. For men with facial hair, keep it well manicured. Do you have a choice for eyewear? If so, go the conservative route, no color contacts or fancy frames. Have a mint before the interview, leave the candy and gum at home. Smokers: the same goes for cigarettes. Leave the smoking until after the interview just in case you share a small room with a non-smoker.
Men: Dress the Part
Conservative and professional is the look that we’re going for. Wear a crew neck tee under a freshly pressed white shirt. A blue suit is a safe bet. Choose a tie with a pattern that compliments the color of your suit. Not too flashy. our belt and shoes should match. Socks match your shoes or pants. Shoes are shined. Skip the cologne altogether. Acceptable jewelry: a watch and of course a wedding band for the married man. Have your briefcase ready and keep your raincoat and umbrella close by in case the weather calls for it.
Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled interview. Additionally, give yourself a little extra time for your commute just in case. In total, build in an extra half hour for yourself; 15 minutes for "what ifs" in your commute and 15 to be sure that you’re early. Turn your cell phone off.
Greet with Confidence
Direct eye contact, a firm handshake, and a smile. Show enthusiasm! Sure they are looking for someone who can do the job, but it’s equally important that they find someone that they like to be around. Be that person. Be yourself. Sell yourself on that interview as a person qualified and eager to take on the task at hand. Express your interest. Be personable. Be positive. Ask for their business card or cards if it’s a panel interview. Be sure to sit with your best posture.
Ask Good Questions
This is something that you prepared in advance. Your questions should set you up to get the information that you’ll need to sell yourself as the right candidate for the job. The one question that you must ask at the start of the interview is what skills must I possess and execute to be successful in this position?
The interviewer will tell you everything you need to know to get this job if you are careful to actively listen. Jot down brief notes about the information that you gather. You will either use that information to make relevant points during the interview itself or you may use it in your follow-up in the thank you note.
Answer their Questions Directly
It’s important that you are able to stay on topic with your interviewer. If you are actively listening this should not be a problem. Avoid rambling and going on a tangent.
You are in the information gathering stage when you are on an interview. The goal here is to help the company see that you are the one that they want. Details such as salary, benefits, and hours can be negotiated later.
If the interviewer brings up the topic of salary, the appropriate response would be “I would consider your best competitive offer.” Don’t give an exact amount of what you wish to earn. If they ask for your specific base salary from a former or current employer you can release that information. Don’t offer it unless asked. If you fill out an application write “open” in the desired salary section.
Take the Initiative to Wrap it Up
You can sense when things are winding down. Let them know that you have one/a couple more questions. Ask them. Conclude your interview by saying, "Based upon our meeting today I want you to know that I am really excited about this opportunity, and I want you to know that I’m interested...(PAUSE)...in your opinion, does my background meet the requirements that you have for this position?" If you get a yes reply, great! What is the next step in the process? Or you get a no reply simply ask what part of my background can I expand on? This is your last chance to sell yourself. Make sure you don’t miss that final opportunity. Thank them for their time.
Call Your Recruiter
Your recruiter knows you are in an interview and can’t wait to hear how it went, so call them right away.
If instructed to do so by me, get a thank you note out as soon as possible. You have the business card(s) so you have their email addresses. Put some thought into it. Tie their goals into your background as this is your last chance to sell them on why you are the person that they want. Keep the focus on the company. Make references to dialog from the interview where applicable. Spell check is a must. Make sure your recruiter reads it to double-check yourself.
Make it Happen!
When you’re prepared for an interview it comes across as confidence to the interviewer. Take that confidence and turn it into a job offer!
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