The job interview process can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience, but if you do your research ahead of time and show up prepared, you can make the task much less daunting and significantly increase your chances of landing the job you want and deserve. To follow are just a few tips to help you better prepare for your next job interview.
- Do your research! Conducting research on the company you are interviewing with should always be your first step. Prior to the interview date, you’ll want to collect as much background information as you can on the company, the management staff, the product portfolio, the company’s success record and history. You will need to be prepared to answer questions such as "What do your know about our company"? and "Why do you want to work here?" Knowing as much as possible about the company's performance and future vision can make your interview more interactive and make you appear more on your game than other candidates. In today’s age, this information is often easy to obtain on the company’s website. However if the company doesn’t have a website or the website doesn’t offer much information, you can contact the prospective employer to request details of the position you’re applying for as well as additional company literature.
- Be prepared. You’ll want to be as prepared as possible for any question or scenario you might encounter. A good preparation strategy is to practice with a friend and record or videotape your responses to commonly asked questions so you can replay and evaluate yourself. You’ll also want to review your qualifications for the job and practice your “self-pitch” noting your core competencies and explaining why those strengths would be right for the position you seek. Also you’ll want to have a few items on hand for the interview including your driver’s license or other form of government issued identification, social security number, fresh copy of your resume and references and copy of your school transcripts, as pertinent to the position.
- Dress appropriately, understand interviewing etiquette and be on time (which means be early!). Your face-to-face interview is often your opportunity to make a great first impression on your desired employer. So you’ll want to dress appropriately to the job and environment you’re applying for. If you are applying for a job in an office, you’ll want to wear a dark colored, conservative business suit. If the job you seek is more casual as in a factory or construction site environment, you might opt for dress slacks and a button down shirt, with an optional tie for men. If you are still unsure, you should err on the side of the conservative keeping in mind it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. You should also understand good interviewing etiquette. The first rule of thumb is to be on time, if not 15 minutes early to make a good impression. Be conscious of your body language, ensuring a nice firm handshake, holding good posture, not using your hands too much in conversation (this shows anxiety), maintaining good eye contact and staying positive. Whatever you do, you never want to make negative remarks about your previously held jobs, positions or employers –you don’t want to appear as a complainer.
- Remain calm. During the interview, you’ll want to remain as calm as possible and not appear as nervous as you likely are. Take your time to deliberately and carefully respond to the questions, ensuring you are fully answering the question being asked.
- Ask questions. You will appear much more interested in the position if you are prepared to ask the interviewer as many questions as possible during the interview. This is not only the employer’s chance to get to know and evaluate you, but for you to evaluate the company and staff to see if this is a place you really want to work. You’ll want to ask questions about the business, the position, the company’s performance, the requirements and any expectations of the person you’ll work for.
- If you've been fired, admit it. People are often dismissed from employment due to company performance issues—through no fault of their own. So when faced with this question, answer directly but not negatively.
- Always follow up with a thank-you note. You will always want to follow up your interview with a separate thank you note to each and every person from the company who interviewed you. In the note, you’ll want to thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate your strengths and how you think those skill sets will benefit the job and company and reiterate your interest in the position.