The job interview.
Just the thought of it can make even the most confident job-seeker nervous: sitting in a room with one or two strangers, talking about yourself and your aspirations, worried about saying something that will spoil your chances for a new opportunity.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. A job interview is your chance to shine, to share what you’ve learned in your working career, and how those skills and experiences will greatly benefit your potential employer.
The key? Preparation, preparation, and more preparation!
A good interview is all about knowing your own story so you can be confident, make a great first impression and, yes, enjoy the meeting.
Here are some useful tips to know (and mistakes to avoid) before you head into that important job interview.
REVIEW AND REHEARSE
Surprisingly, some people head into an interview unprepared to answer standard questions you would expect to be asked, including those specific to the position or industry. To avoid embarrassment, do some basic research first:
Who am I meeting? Use LinkedIn or Google to find out what you can about the person you are meeting with. This will give you an understanding of the interviewer and might uncover some common ground and interests.
Who is the company? A good starting point for learning about a business is to visit its website. Click on the “About” link for basic information on the company’s services, scope and values. Look for current news items about the firm and read the latest press releases to get a sense of how the company talks about itself. This will show you have a true interest in where you hope to be working next.
What is the role I’m interviewing for? Thoroughly read (and re-read) the description of the position you are applying for. Break it down into components, and then match your skills and experience to the specific requirements outlined in the job posting. This way you will be prepared to answer questions about your background in terms of how it relates to the position.
Does my resume really say that? Don’t be caught unprepared by your own information. Review and update your resume before applying (see our resume writing tips), then refresh your memory by re-reading it before your interview. Be prepared to answer questions about the information YOU provided in your resume, specifically how it relates to the role you are interviewing for.
MAKE A STRONG FIRST IMPRESSION
As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Follow these tips and you will be in a stronger position before the interview even begins:
Dress professionally: No matter what level of position you are interviewing for, dress for success and always look professional.
Don’t be late: Punctuality shows that you take the interview (and the position you are applying for) seriously. Arrive 5-10 minutes before the scheduled interview time, and let the receptionist know why you are there. If you arrive too early, don’t spend an awkward 30 minutes sitting in the reception area. Instead, wait in your car or a nearby coffee shop.
Turn off your cell: Do not just switch to vibrate, but turn your phone completely off (or have it on “silent,” if you must have it on). Your focus should be 100% on the interview. You don’t need to be vibrating or alerted during the meeting, which is not only embarrassing but also shows where your priorities lie.
Now that you’re prepped for the interview, it’s time to walk through that door (or turn on that webcam) and make all your preparation worthwhile! Our next blog will cover what to do when you’re actually in the meeting.