It can be tough to make it through the screening process and land a job interview, which is why you should be proud when you get a call back from a potential employer.
In order to impress at the interview, however, you must stand out from the rest of the competition. For some help, check out the ten job interview tips that are highlighted below:
Research the company, just like you did when writing your cover letter. Look for things like mission and values, recent news, recent events or philanthropic involvement. Bringing these up in the interview will show that you took the time to invest in this potential future employer.
It is also a good idea to bring multiple copies of your resume and references to the interview. Ensure that the resume is the version, or updated version, of the one you submitted.
First impressions count and your appearance sends a message about you. Be aware of what message you’re sending. Business professional or business casual attire are both safe options, but know the industry. Here are a few “absolutelys” and “avoids” for interview attire:
|Clean, unwrinkled clothes||Anything ill-fitting or too tight|
|Keep accessories simple and patterns calm – follow the “less is more” idea||Distracting patterns and statement pieces, unless acceptable in that industry|
|Appropriate and comfortable shoes||Sandals and stilettos|
|Well groomed facial hair and appropriate make up||Strong perfume and cologne|
|Cleanly styled hair||Hats and clothes with logos|
Keep this phrase in mind when preparing for your interview: “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.” Leave plenty of time for your commute to the interview, you can even do a dry run ahead of time to know where you’re going. It is better to be early and have some time to relax and focus, than to be late, rushing or flustered. Ten to fifteen minutes early is generally plenty of time.
The interview starts the moment you pull into the parking lot – every interaction counts. Even the receptionist and other employees in the lobby are evaluating!
Convey confidence! A firm handshake, good eye contact and sitting up straight are important. Try to avoid playing with your hair and crossing your arms, which can be interpreted as nervousness or being closed-off.
Relax and smile – after all, you’re happy to be here! Even if you don’t feel that way because of nerves, you want to convey it to the employer.
This is your time to impress! Practice your answers for behavioral-based questions to get comfortable, and don’t forget to showcase your strengths. It’s okay to be personal during this time too – you may find something you relate to the interviewer on, which is a bonus!
Remember, you’re interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you – so come prepared. Ask questions that will help you determine if the company and position are the right fit for you. Think: supervision style, autonomy, team dynamics, professional development and advancement. This goes back to knowing yourself and knowing what will enable you to succeed professionally. Generally, avoid compensation discussions until final round interviews or until you have an offer.
You will want the interviewer’s name and contact information in case you need to reach out again. Before you leave, always thank the interviewer for his or her time.
Keep the interviewer’s contact information or business card and follow-up with a thank you within 72 hours. A simple “thank you for your time” is fine, but bonus points if you can work in something specific from your conversation. Emailing a thank you is acceptable, but there is a nice personal touch to a handwritten note, and there isn’t a rule that says you can’t do both!
The most important thing to remember during the interview process: put your best foot forward and be yourself.
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