No matter where you are in your career, it’s always good to be confident in your skills as an interviewee. Here are a few tips to ace that job interview – whether you’re right out of college, or looking for a mid-life career change.
Before you have even scheduled an interview, there are a few key preparatory steps you must take. Above all, submitting a strong, typo-free resume and cover letter. This is your first introduction to your potential employer – the interview begins here.
Research the company to tailor your application to their needs – this research will come in handy during the interview stage as well. It will be much easier to convey yourself as an enthusiastic and knowledgeable applicant if you understand the company, their industry, the job you’re applying for, and the possible career tracks of that job. Read the company website, search for any news articles related to the company or their industry, and, if you have any contacts at the company or in the industry, talk to them as well.
Don’t forget to “research” yourself. Review and remind yourself of your accomplishments and skills. Think of which ones are most applicable to the job for which you are applying, and practice how to best describe these qualities.
Put time and effort into your appearance. The interview is your chance to make a strong first impression, and how you look has a lot to do with this. In general, potential employers like to see interview candidates in more formal and conservative attire. Make sure your hair is neat and under control, and avoid wearing anything too flashy – in terms of jewellery and clothes. Often, if you’re called back for a second interview, it’s best to match the dress code and culture of the company, but for your first interview, always err on the side of dressing formally.
During the Interview
Introduce yourself clearly and confidently. Interviewers can talk to hundreds of candidates, so make sure they know they’re talking to you! Use your first and last name, always!
Stay focused and make eye contact. Eye contact indicates confidence, and will help you to focus on your interviewer. Turn off your cell phone, and eliminate any possible distractions. During the time you’re in the interview, you need to give your interviewer your full and undivided attention.
Be direct and honest. You have the qualifications, you have the skills, you have the personality to work well in the company – but you need to show that to the interviewer!
Don’t forget to smile! Yes, interviews are a serious business, but your interviewer says something funny or light-hearted, offer an appropriate response.
Ask questions. Always come prepared with questions about the company and the job. Do your research – ask specific, intelligent questions that convey at least a basic understanding of the job, and a desire to learn more.
These tips will help you prepare for any interview anywhere. And after you’ve aced your interview, don’t forget to always follow up and write a thank you note!
This post was written by Mary Johnson on behalf of a TradeStable with classifieds ranging from used cars to real estate and jobs.