Interviewing for a job can be quite nerve-racking. The prospect of having to meet and impress new people can cause anxiety, and knowing that you'll most likely have to answer some unexpected questions is unsettling. The good news is, interviewing is a skill you can learn! With some good tips and techniques you can walk into that next interview with confidence.
1. Prepare in advance. Do your research and gather information about the company and the position you are interested in. Review the position description and try to relate your experience to the responsibilities and duties the job opportunity entails. It's also helpful to prepare a list of questions for the interviewer. Why? It shows you’ve done your homework and you’re serious about the opportunity.
Practice makes perfect: Enlist the help of your friends and family to run through the most common interview questions. Make sure you have your clothes, resume, and directions to the interview site ready ahead of time to avoid additional stress.
2. Make a good first impression.Be the best version of yourself. Your resume helped get you in the door, so don’t let your clothes spoil your chances of being selected. Dress for success: wear professional attire, avoid distracting colors and accessories, and practice good grooming. Add to that good eye contact and a firm handshake and you're set!
3. Know your history.The interviewer may use any combination of traditional, behavioral, or mixed-format questions. Anticipate that you’ll be asked specifics about the jobs you’ve held, your top strengths (and even weaknesses), why you want the job, why you’re a good fit for the job, and the like.
But you should also anticipate being asked for specific examples from your work experience that demonstrate how you’ve successfully overcome challenges, worked under pressure, come up with creative solutions, and corrected your mistakes. In order to do this, you’ll need to reflect on your professional background to collect the most appropriate examples to share with the interviewer.
4. Listen and ask questions.While it’s true that you’re there to sell yourself as the best possible candidate for the job and answer questions, remember you’re also there to evaluate whether the position, organization, and work environment/culture are a good fit for you.
In order to do this, you’ll need to listen and observe – which is far easier said than done, but also terribly important. Asking good questions about the organization and the opening shows your interest. Examples of questions are “What do you like best about working at ____?”, “Why is this position open?”, and “What are the skills and abilities that are common in employees who do well with your company?”
5. Follow up.The thank-you note is one of the most important ways to follow-up after a job interview. Most etiquette experts recommend a handwritten thank-you note sent via snail mail, but it doesn’t hurt to email a brief thank-you the very same day, before you put pen to paper. Keep it short and sweet: share your appreciation for the opportunity and express your continued interest in the job.
Without preparation, interviews can be one-sided conversations in which the interviewer asks questions and the candidate gives an answer. Your ability to have a fluid conversation will let the interviewer know you have prepared for the meeting.
Organizations want to hire engaged employees who have taken the time to learn about themselves and the company and role for which they are applying. Remember, while it is certainly important to show your business and job-related qualifications, it's just as important to make the right impression.
Make the most of your opportunity by applying these tips in your next interview.