By: Carissa Jonak
1. Review Your Resume
You should already have your resume memorized. But what was it that caught the eye of your interviewer? Maybe your specialized experience, unique training, or your previous experience with this field? Revisit your resume from the point of view of the interviewer. It may provide insight into the company's employee needs.
The Internet can help you create personalized resumes or cover letters and they've gotten you this far so why stop now? When researching, first, visit the company web site and maybe take some notes. You can also study the corporate officers, the latest press releases, and the company's annual report. Find as much information as you can on your soon-to-be-employer.
3. Study, study, then cram.
The more you learn about your company, the better you're going to feel walking into the interview. Knowledge is power and will make you more confident in your attitude and answers. You know your stuff and you've studied it. Knowledge of company products, services, protocols and procedures shows the interviewer that you're prepared, with an eye for detail and an appreciation of preparation.
4. Rehearse your interview.
It may be hard to rehearse something that doesn't have a script but maybe try writing one. There are typical questions that are always asked so write down some of your most intelligent thoughts about your profession. Be prepared to go into detail about your past positions, responsibilities and accomplishments. Don't be afraid to highlight your professional strengths and play down your terrible typing skills for example. Remember that you're not bragging if it's the truth. Ask a friend, a teacher or even a sibling to pretend to be your interviewer so you can practicing talking about yourself in front of others. This is all about building confidence so the more you practice, the more confident you'll be.
5. Develop your list of questions.
Your interview shouldn't be seen as some type of interrogation but more of a conversation. It's all about getting to know you. Don't just ask "How much do I get paid?" right off the bat, Instead, ask questions that show you understand the position and the company's requirements. Be quick to pick up on the interviewer's comments and ask questions throughout.
6. Get cut or coiffed.
You'll have 15 minutes to make a good impression. Visit the local hair stylist or barber. People always say looks don't matter but in an interview you bet looks matter. There will be plenty of time to show your talent once you land the job. For now, if you look like a successful person, you will feel like a success and hopefully be a success.
7. Practice positive visualization.
Professionals of all kinds do it. Athletes, actors, yoga instructors and new age thinkers who sleep under makeshift pyramids to absorb that mystical energy do it too. It's called positive visualization. Believe it or not, it works. In the days leading up to the interview, picture yourself sitting opposite the head of HR. Picture yourself relaxed, comfortable, on top of your game. Repeat this over and over in your mind until it becomes so familiar, that it actually becomes a part of your self-image. Your confidence during an interview should be obvious and genuine.
8. Gather your materials.
The day before the interview, gather your materials and place them in a briefcase. If you don't have one, just buy one or borrow one. It's yet another opportunity to show your professional image. Bring extra copies of your resume in a manila envelop. Bring a pad and pencil to take notes. You could also bring a calculator. If you've been asked to provide additional information like a school transcript, make sure you've got clean copies ready to hand over.
9. Sleep tight.
The night before the interview, go to bed early. Have some herbal tea and stay away from the coffee. Relax, but don't forget to set the alarm. You can now comfortably sleep knowing that you're as prepared as you'll ever be. No, not every interview will be a success. You won't get the job every time, but don't take it personally. It's not about you. It's about the needs of the company.
During the Interview
You have 5 seconds to make a first impression in most situations. In a job interview you’re given a bit more time to shine (approximately 30 seconds). Enter the room with as much enthusiasm and energy as possible. Both of these qualities can help cover up your nerves. Smile and make eye contact with your employer. It is also crucial to try and maintain an open posture (line your shoulders up with the shoulders of the person you are meeting) as you shake hands. If it is possible, try to walk around the side of the table or desk and shake hands. You wouldn't want to have a barrier between you and the person you are meeting. Introduce yourself using your first and last name as you shake hands. Say your name at least to the first person, if there are several people on the interview team.
How early should you arrive?
While you should always arrive at your interview a few minutes early, try not get there more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
What to bring:
- Directions and contact info
- Business card
- Notepad and pen
Questions to ask:
- Do you know when you’ll be making your decision on this position?
- Can you explain to me what my typical day in this position would be like?
- Can you show me examples of projects I'd be working on?
- What are the skills and experiences you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?
- What attributes does someone need to have in order to be really successful in this position?
- What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
- What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
- What sort of budget would I be working with?
- Is this a new role that has been created?
- Do you expect the main responsibilities for this position to change in the next six months to a year?
5 Common Interview Q&A
- Q: What are your weaknesses? A: Minimize your weakness and turn it into a strength and stay away from personal qualities
- Q: Why should we hire you? A: Summarize your experiences that qualify you for the position
- Q: Why Did You Leave (Or Why Are You Leaving) Your Job? A: if you are unemployed state your reason for leaving in a positive context. If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job
- Q: What are your goals? A: talk about short-term and intermediate goals
- Q: What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can't? A: talk about what makes you unique. This is basically just an assessment of your experiences, skills and personality traits.
- When it is time to leave the Interview you should stand to say goodbye to and thank your interviewer(s) and firmly shake their hand(s).
- Write a thank-you note immediately. It's best to follow up by sending an e-mail within 24 hours of the interview. Restate why you’re the best choice for the job. You can also use this to thank the interviewers for their time, express your interest in landing the position, and mention anything else that led to a personal connection during the interview.
- Connect with your employer online but don't overdo it. You don't want them to think you're stalking them
- Keep notes because it is important to keep track of job openings you pursue, contacts made, and resumes sent. After the interview, write down who you met and the date of the meeting, what you talked about, what you learned, your impressions of the workplace, and any concerns or questions you have.
Dressed For Success
8 Tips To Dress For Interview Success
Dress for a positive impact
- dress for what's appropriate for the job
- dress as you would if you already had the job (ex: office job=suit lifeguard=beach clothes)
Avoid wearing perfume or cologne
- you never know when you're interviewer(s) are allergic to perfumes or colognes
- sometimes excessive scents in close quartered areas can be very distracting
Make sure you clothes are freshly washed, ironed and pressed if necessary
- this shows that you truly care about your appearance and actually put an effort into looking your best
Wear makeup and jewelry that is appropriate to the position
- if you are applying to be a doctor you wouldn't be wear long dangly earrings that go past your shoulders
- nothing obnoxious
If you don’t know how fancy you should be dressing it is always better to overdress than to under-dress
- research your company can help you be sure of what to wear but when in doubt: overdress!
Grooming and accessory tips for everyone:
- A two-piece matched suit (pants or skirt) is always the best and safest choice.
- Conservative colors / fabrics that aren't odd or distracting
- You don't have to spend a fortune on your outfit
Grooming and accessory tips for everyone:
- Hair should be clean and neat.
- Shoes should be polished. Make sure heels are not worn.
- Details: No missing buttons, no lint; and don't forget to remove external tags and tacking stitches from new clothes.
- Don't make excuses. You should always take responsibility for your decisions and actions.
- Don't make negative comments about people (especially not about previous employers or professors)
- Don't lie on your application materials or answers to interview questions.
- Don't treat the interview casually, like if you are just shopping or doing the interview for practice.
- Don't make it seem like you are only interested in a postition because of its geographic location.
- Don't let your interviewer think that you are only interested in salary; don't ask about salary and benefits issues until the subject is brought up by your interviewer.