Congratulations! You have just landed an interview for what could be a wonderful job. Now what? A successful interview will be essential for you to lock in a job offer, and this is your chance to impress the interviewer enough to get hired.
Taking the time to prepare will make the interview process, which can be lengthy, run smoothly. You will be able to make the best possible impression at every job interview you go on if you are prepared.
Here’s our advice on how to ace a job interview, including tips on every aspect of the interview from preparation through follow-up.
Conduct Company Research
Research should always be your first step after accepting an interview. Gathering background information on employers is crucial to successful interview preparation.
An employer will expect you to know something about the company, and expect you to know why you will fit in well there. You need to be prepared to answer the questions, “What do you know about our company”? and “Why do you want to work here?” Knowing as much as possible about the company’s past performance and future plans can also help you better explain how you can add value to the company.
Before the interview, review the company’s website, particularly their “About Us” section. Also check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social pages to see what information the company is sharing. Don’t be afraid to contact your prospective employer to request details on the position you are interviewing for.
The more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll feel while you’re talking to your interviewer.
Use Your Connections to Get the Inside Scoop
If you know someone who works at the organization or who can put you in touch with a current or former employee, you’ll be able to gather information that can give you an advantage over the other applicants.
Check LinkedIn to see if you have contacts at the company you can use to get insider information. If your college has an alumni network tap that, as well. Ask your connections about the interview process they went through when they were hired, ask what they like — and don’t like — about working for the organization.
Learn as much as you possibly can about the company and the job for which you’re applying. It will help you know what to ask, as well as giving you insight into the role.
Take the Time to Practice
Practice makes perfect (or at least leads to improvement). Conduct practice interviews with a friend or family member, and ask for their feedback. You can also record or videotape your responses so you can review your answers and check your body language.
Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions. Doing so will help you analyze your background and qualifications for the position. You don’t need to memorize answers, but having an idea of what you’re going to say will help you frame a solid response.
Also be ready to respond when you’re asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask the interviewer. Remember, you aren’t simply trying to get the job — you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you.
Learn Behavioral Interviewing Techniques
In addition to standard interview techniques, behavior-based interviewing is becoming more common. It is based on the idea that a candidate’s past performance is the best predictor of future performance. Behavioral interviews involve you answering questions about how you have handled past situations at work.
The best way to prepare is to make a list of your skills, values, and interests as well as your strengths and weaknesses. For each item on the list, consider a time when you displayed that quality. Take the time to compile a list of responses to common behavioral interview questions.
When answering, describe the past situation, and how you successfully handled it. Make sure your answers are related to the job for which you are interviewing.
Dress for Interview Success
You will want to decide what to wear before the interview day. Your first impression is very important, and what you wear is a big part of that first impression. Therefore, you want to make sure you look professional and appropriate for the work environment.
In general, for formal business interviews, men tend to wear a dark suit and tie, and women often wear a dark suit or a blouse with dark pants or a skirt. You should also limit accessories, make sure you are well groomed, your clothing fits you well, and your shoes are shined. If you are unsure about what to wear, email or call the person who scheduled the interview and ask about the typical dress code. It is always a good idea to dress just a little bit more professionally than the dress code requires. Your goal is to make the best impression possible.
How to Handle the Day of the Interview
It is very important to be on time for the interview. On time means ten to 15 minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the office ahead of time or check out other options for getting there so you know exactly where you are going, how long it will take to get there, and what the transportation and parking situation looks like. If you’re running late you’ll be stressed, and that’s no way to start an interview for what could be your new job.
Remember that it’s not only the hiring manager who makes the decision on who to hire. Be polite and gracious to everyone you meet from the time you walk in the door to when you leave. The people you meet could be your future co-workers, so make the best impression on them that you can.
When you arrive, introduce yourself to the receptionist. Make sure you know the interviewer’s name and use it as soon as possible during the interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview.
Also, remember to take a extra copy of your resume, a list of references, and any work samples you want to show the employer. Bring a list of questions to ask the interviewer. It’s a good idea to bring a notepad and pen to take notes. Stay calm and avoid stress! Good luck!
By: Kirti Bhasin