Here is a topic that most people can relate to whether you are just starting out in your career, looking for a part time job or even a veteran in the working world, climbing your way to the top of the corporate ladder.
Preparing for an interview is something that takes hard work, research and understanding of the position you could potentially be signing yourself up for. It is also in some ways, a contest between you and plenty of other qualified candidates to see who will make the best fit and who will not.
There are so many important factors to preparing for an interview. This is not just a simple resume review and small talk about who you are. This is essentially a test to see if you are right for the job. While you may have the best qualifications, your presentation of who you are could be the difference between “hired” and “the position has been filled”. Here are 10 great tips to help you in your interview preparation:
1. The interview begins the moment you walk through the doors: This is an important fact that can easily be forgotten. Once you enter the building of the company you are being interviewed for, you want to make sure you have a professional demeanor at all times. Show up to the interview early (5-7 minutes early), have everything you need with you and ready to go and be polite and kind to anyone around you. You never know who might be watching so a positive and professional attitude is key.
2. First impressions are important: Make sure you have a nice, firm (but not too hard!) handshake. You also want to make sure you do not have sweaty palms or cold hands before you shake hands. If this is an issue for you, try and keep a cloth in your pocket or when you arrive early, ask the person you have checked in with where the restroom is and wash your hands with warm water and soap. Do not ask to use the restroom during the interview… all you’re doing then is wasting their time. Also remember that if you smoke, you must wait until after your interview so that the smell doesn’t linger around you and if you are chewing gum, spit it out before you go in!
3. Be ready, alert and attentive: You want to make sure that you truly understand what is being asked of you and what is being said. Do not look at your watch; click your pen or act distracted in any way. This gives off the impression that you are not interested and could result in losing the job.
4. Come to the interview PREPARED: I cannot stress enough how important preparation is because this could really help you if done right. Before you go, do your research on the company (who they are, what they do, mission statement, news articles, follow them on social media, press releases, etc.), have questions ready to ask them and review the job description to properly understand what it is you’re applying for.
5. Dress like a professional so you will be treated like a professional: If you want to make a good impression, be sure to wear a suit that is appropriate. Everything you are wearing should say “Right for the Job” from your hair brushed nice to the shoes you put on your feet. Keep your nails clean, remove any chipped nail polish and also avoid wearing any perfume due to possible allergies.
6. Practice with your portfolio before the interview: For those who use a portfolio to showcase examples of their work, make sure you rehearse by practicing holding it and knowing where every important document is instead of having it on the table and flipping through the many pages. By doing that, you look well-rehearsed and prepared.
7. Don’t talk over the interviewer: It’s important to really listen to what the person interviewing you has to say. Don’t worry, you will get your time to speak but give the interviewer a chance to finish their thoughts before you jump on them with yours.
8. Prepare yourself for any question they may ask: Like I’ve said many times throughout this blog… preparation is key! Before your interview, search online for examples of different interview questions that you think could be asked. Write these down along with your answer and rehearse saying them out loud. This will help you a lot in the interview process.
9. Thank you note: When the interview is said and done, a polite thing to do is send a thank you note to your interviewer that is personalized with their name on it. Even if you don’t get the job, this leaves them with a positive impression of you and who knows, maybe there will be another job for you down the road.
10. Do not send constant emails and calls about the job: If you don’t get the position, then there will be others. Employers would rather not be asked from everyone they interview if the job is filled or if they got the job. However, if you receive an email or even a phone call letting you know you did not get the job, you may ask them for tips to better improve for your next interview. This will leave a good impression and show your dedication to working hard and always looking to improve. Like I said, it is important to leave a good impression because you just never know when an opportunity will come up.
I hope these tips will help and remember to be prepared, act in a professional manner and ultimately, be yourself. Good luck!