Congratulations! You have been chosen for a job interview at your dream job. The next step is to wow the interviewer into giving you that job. Keep in mind that most hiring managers interview a lot of people for any particular job. And, because there are so many they generally have to go back to their notes to remember each candidate. The exception of course is the candidate that makes the interview unforgettable. That is usually the person who gets the job. You can be that one who makes the interview memprable if you take the time and effort to prepare for this event.
Taking the time to prepare will make the interview
process run smoothly. It will boost your self-esteem and confidence. And, it
will bring your stress levels way down. You will be able to make the best
possible impression at every job interview you go on.
TO KNOW THE COMPANY:
The first step in your preparation is to get to know
the company. An employer will expect you to know something about the company,
and expect you to know why you will fit in well there. You need to be prepared
to answer the questions, “What do you know about our company”? And,
“Why do you want to work here?”
You should know as much as possible about the company’s past performance and future plans. This can help you better explain how you can add value to the company. Check out the company’s website, particularly their “About Us” section. Also visit their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social pages to see what information the company is sharing. Review Glassdoor reviews, salaries, and interviewing information.
Inside information can be a plus during the interview. If you know someone who works at the organization or who can put you in touch with a current or former employee, you’ll be able to gather information that can give you an advantage over the other applicants.
Check LinkedIn to see if you have contacts at the company you can use to get insider information. If your college has an alumni network tap into that as well. Ask your connections about the interview process they went through when they were hired. And, ask what they like or don’t like, about working for the organization.
TO KNOW ABOUT THE JOB REQUIREMENTS:
Don’t be afraid to contact your prospective employer to request details on the position you are interviewing for. Get to know what the job entails. Don’t just read the job description–study it and picture yourself performing every task required of you. The more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll feel while you’re talking to your interviewer.
YOUR HARD AND SOFT SKILLS:
Think about your top accomplishments. You might want to write these down first. Carefully choose key success stories likely to resonate with potential employers. If you have difficulty organizing your accomplishments, try thinking about them in terms of problem, action and end result.
Hard skills include your top, job-related strengths. This is also a good time to brush up on technology skills that you will be working with. Be ready to emphasize technical or functional skills such as account management, business development, sales support, project management or staff supervision. Soft skills are personal attributes unique to you that will set you apart from other job applicants. It will also help you work effectively with other people. Your interpersonal skills will go a long way during the interview.
ANSWERS TO COMMONLY ASKED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS.
Prepare a list of follow-on interview questions and outline key points you will touch on if you are asked these questions. For example, if you say your biggest strength is time-management, you need to be ready for the interviewer to ask something like, “What does this strength look like in action?” This preparation will make your responses more pointed, avoid awkward silences and uncertainty. And, it will build your confidence prior to the interview. This approach will help you analyze how well your background and qualifications fit the position. You don’t need to memorize answers. If you have an idea of what you’re going to say you will easily frame a solid response.
Also, be ready to respond when you’re asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Remember, you aren’t simply trying to get the job — you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.
BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES:
In addition to standard interview techniques, behavior-based interviewing is becoming more common. It is based on the idea that a candidate’s past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Behavioral interviews involve you answering questions about how you have handled past situations at work. For example, how do you handle an irate customer? Or, what do you do for special needs clients? The best way to prepare for performance based questions is to make a list of your skills, values, and interests. Be sure to include your strengths and weaknesses.
For each item on the list, consider a time in the past when you used that quality to solve a problem on a previous job. Take the time to compile a list of responses to common behavioral interview questions. Describe the past situation, and how you successfully handled it. Make sure your answers are related specifically to the job for which you are interviewing.
If possible, you should practice doing mock interviews. Team up with someone you trust to accurately critique your answers. Or, you can do it in front of a mirror. You may even video tape yourself so that you could review it later. Pay close attention to your body language as well as your verbal answers. The more you practice, the more self-assured you will feel walking into the interview. Your answers will feel natural, and interviewers will be impressed by your confidence.
When considering how to dress for an interview, use your best judgment and don’t overthink it. If possible, research the company’s dress code. Remember however, if the company has ‘casual Friday’ you are not yet a part of the company. So, dress in business attire. Additionally, you should choose clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Avoid outfits that you’d have to tug or pull at or something that would wrinkle easily on your commute to the interview. Avoid revealing clothing and anything that doesn’t fit properly. Check for stains, snags, pet hair and holes. Make sure your outfit is cleaned and ready a few days before your interview. The night before the interview, lay out or hang up your outfit. It should be out of reach of children, housemates or pets.
THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW:
Don’t rely on your GPS the day of the interview.
MapQuest or Google the company address ahead of time (be sure to factor in
rush-hour traffic if you have an early-morning appointment). Plan to arrive 20
minutes early, and take 10 of those minutes to give yourself a pep talk and
organize your thoughts before going inside.
It is very important to be on time for the interview. On time means 10 to 15 minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the office ahead of time or check out other options for getting there so you know exactly where you are going, how long it will take to get there, and what the transportation and parking situations looks like. If you’re running late you’ll be stressed, and that’s no way to start an interview for what could be your new job.
This is huge. Plan so that you can prepare a calm,
positively energized environment for yourself the morning of your interview.
Try to limit unwanted distractions that day, and if you’re very nervous, use
deep- breathing techniques or meditation to reduce anxiety levels. If you’re nervous,
visit the restroom before your interview, and wash and dry your hands so they
aren’t sweaty. Take some deep breaths, and remember that this is only one
interview and you’ve prepared as well as you can for it. If the interview goes
wrong, it’s not the end of the world, and you may even be able to fix it.
During the interview, try to remain as calm as possible. Ask for clarification if you’re not sure what’s been asked and remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to frame your responses so you can be sure to fully answer the question. Also, remember that thorough preparation help build confidence and relieve stress. The more you research the company, practice answering interview questions, and prepare for the day of the interview, the calmer and more confident you will feel.
Remember that it’s not only the hiring manager who
makes the decision on who to hire. Be polite and gracious to everyone you meet
from the time you walk in the door to when you leave. The people you meet could
be your future co-workers, so make the best impression on them that you can.
When you arrive, introduce yourself to the
receptionist. Make sure you know the interviewer’s name and use it as soon as
possible during the interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask
prior to the interview.
You have done the preparation, now is the time to ‘wow’ the interviewer. This can be done in a number of ways. You can use your appearance, and your personality. However, if you can share a work-related story with a strong positive outcome, you will definitely capture your interviewer’s attention. When you interview, frame your responses so that you reveal your significant knowledge about the job. This will gives you a massive advantage. Use words such as “adaptable,” “collaborative,” “resourceful,” “intuitive,” “influential” and “cost-conscious.” Think about them often so that when you’re asked, “What skills would you deem most important in this position?” you’ll not only have the answer at your fingertips, you’ll sound self-assured.
COMMON INTERVIEW MISTAKES:
In addition to doing everything right, it’s
important to avoid doing the wrong thing when you’re trying to get hired for a
new job or a promotion. What shouldn’t you do when interviewing? Check out the
most common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors interviewees make
before you start getting ready to interview. Some of them are minor. Others can
make or break your chances of getting hired.
WHAT TO BRING:
Remember to bring an extra copy of your resume, a
list of references, and any work samples you want to show the employer. Bring a
list of questions to ask the interviewer. It’s a good idea to bring a notepad
and pen to take notes.
NOT TO BRING:
It’s also important to know what not to bring. Do
not bring coffee, gum, or anything else not related to the job. Turn your phone
off and put it away before you walk into the office.
Even though you’ve finished the interview, you’re
not quite done yet. End the interview with a thank you to the interviewer, and
reiterate your interest in the position. Also, you should follow-up with a
personal thank you note, or email message restating your interest. This is an
opportunity to remind the employer of your qualifications, and to include any
details you forgot to mention in the interview.
TO TELL IF THE INTERVIEW WENT WELL:
In many cases you will know if the interview went well. You can feel the comradery and acceptance from the interviewer. Sometimes you can tell right away that an interview isn’t working out. You may know as soon as the interviewer starts telling you about the job that you don’t want it. The chemistry between you and the hiring manager may not feel quite right. Or you can tell you’re not a good fit for the job after all. If the interview didn’t pan out, consider it a learning experience, and more practice. With every interview you have, you’ll be better prepared to ace the next one, and get the job.
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