When you’ve finally landed that sought after job interview, it’s time to do some preparation to land the position. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of success. Interviewing is not something that should feel easy. Now that you’ve secured the interview, the hard work of preparing begins. After interviewing hundreds of applicants, and speaking with other recruiters, I’ve compiled some interviewing tips that might help you to make an impression and land that next job!
1. Be prepared! Do your Research!
Take time to review the job description in detail, and make sure you can speak to the experience you have for each of the qualifications that are listed. To prepare, it’s best to write them down so they are etched in your mind.
Write down some potential interview questions you think they may ask based on the job description, then practice your responses. Practice with a friend or spouse and get their feedback on your responses.
Study the organization’s website to learn about their organization. Check their social media sites. Search the web for news and information about the company. Look on LinkedIn and Glassdoor to gather information. Try to find what their objectives are for the fiscal year. Does the organization donate to any charities? How many employees does the company have? What is their mission, vision, and most importantly, what are their core values?
Prepare a list of questions you can ask at the end of the interview. ALL interviewers appreciate that.
2. Dress Appropriately
Suits, dresses, skirts, or business attire should be worn if it’s a business environment. If you’re unsure, play it safe and dress smartly. First impressions can make or break the rest of the interview.
Never wear running shoes, flip flops, tank tops, yoga pants, short skirts, or low cut clothing. You are not going to a nightclub … you’re trying to appear professional.
3. During the Interview
Shake hands with all the interviewers (if possible), and make sure you do so with confidence. Weak handshakes can be interpreted as a lack of confidence.
Sit up straight and make eye contact.
Tell your experiences as stories. Storytelling can really engage your interviewers.
Watch your word choice: Watch for self-deprecating statements, use professional language (not slang); keep your words positive; never say derogatory things about previous employers or managers; be humble but confident; in reciting experiences, give credit to others on your team, if appropriate.
Watch for nervous ticks; try to stay grounded.
Take your time with your responses. It’s best to pause and wait for the right response than to rush to answer. You can even ask to come back to the question if you can’t think of an example in the moment.
Acknowledge if you really don’t have experience or knowledge in an area, but reassure the interviewers that you are a quick learner; be keen to learn and develop. Never oversell your knowledge, experience or skills. Be truthful and authentic.
Be succinct. When some people get nervous, they often speak too much and too quickly. Be very clear in your response, and then stop talking. If there is silence, that’s okay. Many times this is helpful to an interviewer who is trying to write down your responses. They’ll appreciate the time.
4. At the End of the Interview:
Offer the interviewers business cards if you have them.
Have your references ready.
Ask when you might expect to hear back.
Thank the interviewers for taking the time to meet with you.
Shake their hands and smile!
If you find out you didn’t get the job, don’t let that deter you. If you receive an email response, always reply to the interviewer. It’s sometimes helpful to ask if there was any feedback they can offer you on your interview. Also, ask if they would be willing to keep your resume for consideration for future positions.
Don’t make any assumptions about why you didn’t get the job. Many companies already have strong internal candidates or there was somebody who interviewed that just had more of what the company was looking for. It’s important to self-talk positive and reinforcing. Interviewing can be hard on self-esteem, so staying optimistic is crucial to stay motivated to try again.
Melissa has been an organizational leader for over 15 years in various industries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and recently completed a Master of Arts degree in Leadership. She currently works as an organizational leadership consultant at Fox & Owl Consulting Services.