I cannot stress enough how important it is to do your research and preparation in advance. In the days leading up to your interview, take the time to dig in to the company’s website. Get to know their mission statement, who their major clients are, major accomplishments are, etc. Having a good grasp of the company’s background will help you answer questions, but more importantly, the employer will see that you care. At the end of the day, most companies want to hire a candidate that is passionate about the position and the company culture, not a person who is just there to make a dollar. This will make a difference— trust me.
In addition to this, make sure that you know yourself heading in to the interview. I know, you may be thinking that there is no one who knows you better than you, but hear me out. I’m not talking about getting to know yourself in a spiritual, über-introspective sense, but rather know the person who applied for the job. Start by looking back at the cover letter and resume you submitted initially. Go through each experience listed and figure out how you are going to explain that in depth, in person. I find it helpful to do this part orally, out loud.
When you’re formulating ways to explain your experience, look at the original job posting, too. Do you see any key words or characteristics that the employer is specifically looking for? Incorporate those in to your experience explanations, the employer will most likely be keeping an ear out for those hot spots.
Your etiquette in an interview is so important! This is anything from body language to manners.
- Hand shake: Shake the hands of the people you’re interviewing with. And while we’re on the topic of hands, be mindful not to fidget—it can be distracting!
- Eye contact: Maintain eye contact when you are being spoken to as well as while you’re speaking. Not in a creepy, non-blinking way, but in a confident way
- Sit up straight: Slouching will just make you look sloppy or too nonchalant
- No gum: Smacking on gum is a huge no-no. Swap it for a mint!
- No interrupting: Wait until the interviewer is finished speaking to answer the posed question
- No phone: I shouldn’t have to say this, but I feel like it can’t hurt
At some point in the interview (typically at the end), the interviewer will typically ask you if you have any questions for them. Always have some prepared ahead of time, otherwise they might assume you’re uninterested or not prepared. Here are a couple of good ones for you:
- What is your hiring timeline? What is the next step in this process?
- What do you look for in a successful employee? What steps can an employee take to excel in this position?
- What is your favorite part about coming to work every day?
Post Job Interview
It is incredibly important to send a thank you note or email following up after an interview. This could be the deciding factor between you and another candidate! You could never seem too considerate or too thoughtful at this stage.