An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications and personality to a potential employer. It is a chance for you to become more than just a name on a list and leave a lasting impression.
Plan ahead. Before you go to your interview, make sure you do your homework. Research the company, the position and the people you will be interviewing with, if possible. Review your resume and be prepared to provide examples to support past career accomplishments. Consider possible interview questions and practice your responses. Make sure you are appropriately dressed and have directions to the interview site. It is especially important that you are on time (5 to 10 minutes early) to your interview.
Dress for successFirst impressions are critical. so it’s important to always dress professionally for a job interview, even if the work environment is casual. Neat and conservative is the look you should go for, including your clothing and grooming. Do not wear clothing that is too flashy or ill-fitting (low-cut, too short, too baggy). Limit the perfume or aftershave, and make sure you leave the gum at home.
Remember attitude determines altitude. Your interview is the time for you to demonstrate your attitude and personality. Be enthusiastic and attentive but not over-bearing. Maintain eye contact to express your interest, and address your interviewer(s) directly. Be positive about past work experiences and employers. Be yourself, and turn whatever you are into “how and why I will be valuable to your organization.”
Watch your words. Clearly communicate your skills and experience and focus on your strengths. Use PAR (Problem-Action-Result) statements to demonstrate your competency and show how you have contributed in past organizations. Answer questions honestly and concisely without rambling, and make sure you use appropriate language and correct grammar. Ask questions about the organization and position that demonstrate your interest, such as expectations and qualifications for the position; do not ask about benefits or pay.
Make up for what you lack. If you don’t have experience or are unfamiliar with a particular subject, it’s okay to say so. Don’t try to make your resume look like you have experience, as the prospective employer will see through it. Use a simple short statement to clearly state your goal and make sure you also point out what you can do. All employers want someone who will work hard, has an ability to get things done and can learn quickly. Show how you can do those things. Let the interviewer know you are happy to learn new things and like to be challenged.
Be professional. Make sure you are aware of all the little things that make a big difference. The way you dress and how you act communicate just as much to potential employers as what you say.
Send a thank you. This should be short and to the point. A hand-written note or email is sufficient, as most potential employers do not want to be bothered by phone calls.