There are five steps to preparing for successful interviewing.
Before the Interview
- Know the company – Your knowledge of the prospective employer will contribute to the positive image you want to create. Use the internet, local libraries, business journals, etc.
- Know the job – Learn the requirements and skills needed for the job you’re interviewing for and how your previous experience qualifies you for the position
- Know yourself – Review your resume and practice stating your skills and experience.
TIP: Bring several clean copies of your resume to the interview for the interviewer and yourself.
- Prepare your own questions – This is an opportunity for you to interview the employer and show your interest in the job.
TIP: Some questions you might want to ask are:
Are there quotas to be met? How would my performance be measured or evaluated? What are some characteristics of someone who has been successful in this position.
- Get the big picture – Visualize the entire interview from start to finish. See yourself interviewing with confidence. Present with a professional attitude and dress for success.
During the Interview
Make a good first impression – Project a professional, competent and enthusiastic impression. Your goal is to convince the interviewer that you would be a benefit to the company.
TIP: You never get a second opportunity to make a first impression.
Keep the following in mind:
- Be punctual – Be at least ten minutes early. Know where you are going. You never know what may arise unexpectedly (i.e. traffic, limited parking, etc.)
- Handshake – Make eye contact and offer a firm handshake.
- Dress appropriately – Be well groomed and dress for the position you are seeking.
- Body language – Know your own body language and send the right message by standing straight or sitting slightly forward in your chair. Smile and make frequent eye contact.
- Be honest – Tell the interviewer about your work skills, strengths and experience, including any volunteer work you have done. If you have not had a particular kind of experience say so, but also demonstrate your ability to learn new skills.
Listening skills – Listen carefully and make sure you understand what the interviewer is asking you.
Positive statements – Focus on the positive, especially when discussing former employers.
Ask Questions – If you do not understand the question ask the interviewer to rephrase or clarify the question.
Practice, Practice, Practice – Know the answers to the following questions:
- Please tell me about yourself…
- Why should we hire you?
- What are your plans for the next year?
- What do you expect to get from this job?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Why did you leave your last job? What would your former employer say about you if I called them today?
- Why did you get into this line of work?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
After the Interview
These are busy professionals, so remember:
- Thank you note – Send or e-mail a thank you letter immediately to emphasize your interest in the job.
- Follow-up – Contact the employer to follow up on your status.
- Be patient and stay positive.