Now that you have used your research, resume and networking you find yourself at the doorstep of an interview. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when it comes to successful interviewing:
- Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early. This allows for ample time to be ready and prepared walking into the interview. It also cuts down on added stress that might come as a result of arriving at the last second. It allows for you to take some time to “get in the zone”.
- Bring extra resumes! Never assume your interviewer has been given a copy of your resume. HR forgets to pass these things along all the time. Always be prepared by bringing AT LEAST 5 copies of your resume to distribute during the interview.
- Professional Dress and Appearance. There’s saying that goes “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” and this couldn’t ring truer in this situation. Always dress for success. The way you look and present yourself speaks louder than words because it shows you care about what you are doing. It shows you are serious about the opportunity at hand. Clean shaven, hair cut, ironed suit and tie, nothing too low cut or flashy. If you have to second guess it, forget about it.
- Be Confidant! Nothing kills the mood of an interview more than a quiet and timid church mouse. Notice we didn’t say cocky; that can be a mood killer too. The key is to not only be confidant in yourself and your abilities, but to be sure to convey that to the interviewer in the way you talk and present yourself.
- Posture/Eye Contact. Sitting up straight not only keeps you from looking like a slouch, but it allows you to speak clearly and firmly when responding to questions from the interviewer. Making sure to always make eye contact during an interview shows the interviewer that you are listening and engaged in what they are saying. Putting the two together helps to further project that level of professionalism that will ultimately help to win you the job.
- Research, Research, Research. If you haven’t noticed, a lot of the job search process is research. So why would that come to an end just because you got an interview. Once you have confirmed your interview date, be sure to get a firm grasp on who/what the company is and what they are all about. Being able to convey knowledge about the company in an interview is vital to securing the job. It shows the interviewer that you have done the work on your end to be fully prepared and shows your dedication to obtaining the position.
- ASK QUESTIONS. After you have done your research, but sure to develop some questions regarding the company, as well as the position itself and how they relate to each other. The questions not only help to better understand the company/position, but again it engages the interviewer and shows that you have done your research. An interview should always flow like a conversation: They ask a question, you listen and answer; you ask a related question, they answer. The goal is to gain insight while having a conversation.
- Ask for contact information. Be sure at the end of the interview to request a business card or contact information so that you are able to follow up with the interviewer. Once you have received this information, be sure to send a thank you (either by hand or by email) to each person you interviewed with. Try to include a specific thing you each talked about to make sure that the thank you is personal and sincere. Be sure to also reiterate your excitement about the position and why you feel you would be the best fit.
- CLOSE CLOSE CLOSE. At the conclusion of the interview, be sure to do a soft close with the interviewer. Make sure to ask about the next steps and what, if anything, they might need additionally from you. The number one mistake candidates make is that they walk out of the interview without asking for the job. Sounds pretty crazy right? But it’s true! Now that’s not to say you are going to flat out ask “can I have the job?”, rather it means you should indicate that you feel you are a great fit based on your experience, your research and your gut feeling on how the interview went. Try to get insight into what the next steps would be. Ask directly, “What do you think the next steps of this process will be?” and “When can I expect to hear back from you regarding this opportunity?”
- Showing Up Late: For obvious reasons, do not be late to an interview. If you are running late and have a valid excuse, but sure to call ahead and notify the interviewer immediately.
- Showing Up Unprepared: This includes not bringing enough resumes, not doing your research on the company, not asking questions, not showing up dressed professionally, etc. If you are unable to be fully prepared for the interview, how is this employer going to assume you would be prepared for the actual job itself?
- Talking too much. Again, this interview is supposed to be a conversation. Conversations are interactions between two or more people, not one person talking to or about them self. Be sure to answer questions that are asked fully and to the best of your ability. Don’t allow yourself to ramble on about information that is not relevant to the discussion at hand. Keep your conversation relevant. Getting off track is a huge turn off to interviewers.
- Not Following Up. It sounds simple and somewhat cheesy, but it makes that big of a difference. If for nothing else, it could be the difference between you and another equally qualified candidate. It could be the deciding factor in who gets the job and who gets left out.
- Not Closing/Asking For The Job. If you leave the interview and haven’t begun to close them on the opportunity, you might as well kiss the opportunity goodbye. The reason being, once you have walked out that door, chances are they have other candidates to interview and you have left it in their hands. You may never even get another opportunity to talk to them because one of those candidates could knock their socks off and steal the job from you.
Best of Luck With Your Interview!
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